Folks, I regret to inform you that Magic Johnson is at it again.
The Lakers’ president of basketball operations was in Philadelphia over the weekend to watch his team get thumped by Joel Embiid and the 76ers, and made headlines with a few quotes from his chat with the media. He wasn’t pleased with the media treating some of his younger players “like babies,” with how the trade rumors involving Anthony Davis were handled. He also felt the Pelicans weren’t operating “in good faith” with their trade conversations, after it became clear towards the deadline that they were not going to send Davis to the Lakers.
He also indicated that Ben Simmons had reached out to see if they could potentially get together so the Hall of Famer could share some tips for being a big guard in the NBA. This, naturally, raised eyebrows as it was, once again, Magic talking about another team’s player, which has not gone well for him in the past. Sixers GM Elton Brand insisted he and the Sixers had decided against that possibility a month ago, which only raised more questions about why all of this was coming up now and why Magic would be the one to bring it up.
Now, as seems to be a regular occurrence in Laker Land, the NBA is investigating any contact between Simmons and the Lakers to determine if anything violated the league rules.
Elton Brand also released a more polished statement on it all than what he said on Philly radio earlier in the morning.
(That last line should read “sweating” not “seating” as Woj clarified later.)
Once again Magic has managed to create a controversy that didn’t need to happen by speaking about another team’s star. Whether purposeful or purely innocent, it keeps happening. The league has made it clear in the past that they don’t appreciate when the Hall of Famer opens his mouth and discusses anything regarding players under contract from other teams, even if it seems otherwise harmless.
It’s understandably tricky for Johnson, given that for years he was asked his opinion on NBA players and teams given his stature as an all-time great, but now he represents the Lakers at all times and can not take that hat off to don the one of NBA legend when discussing other players around the league. It’s possible this will all turn out to be nothing, but don’t get surprised if another fine comes the way of the Lakers as the NBA tries to make their message very clear to Magic.