LeBron James stunned by Magic Johnson's exit
NBA.com Global on May 06, 2019 07:01 AM
FILE - LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers shakes hands with fans as he walks off the court after the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on November 14, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
LeBron James expressed disbelief and a sense of betrayal in the days after Magic Johnson shocked the basketball world with his abrupt decision to step down as Lakers president of basketball operations.
“I came here to be a part of the Lakers organization, having a conversation with Magic and really kind of breaking it down and saying how we was gonna make this Showtime again, and I wanted to be part of that process,” LeBron said during an episode of his HBO show “The Shop.” The show, featuring LeBron sitting in a barber shop chair and talking informally, aired Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) but was taped April 11 in the aftermath of Johnson’s April 9th decision.
Johnson announced his decision in an impromptu press conference with reporters without first telling others in the Lakers organization, including owner Jeanie Buss, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and LeBron.
Johnson recruited LeBron to be part of the process of rebuilding the Lakers. In a meeting near the end of the Lakers' disappointing season with LeBron and his agent, Rich Paul, Johnson and Pelinka, there was no indication that Johnson was thinking of stepping down, ESPN's Ohm Yongmisuk reported.
“So it was just weird for him to just be like ‘I’m out of here’ and not even have no like, ‘Hey Bron, kiss my ass. I’m out of here.’ I would’ve been OK with that. ‘Hey Bron, it’s Magic. Kiss my ass. I’m gone.’ Not even that,” LeBron said on the show.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are moving on, having parted ways with coach Luke Walton. Per multiple reports, they are expected to hire Tyronn Lue as their next coach soon. ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski report that no offer has been made yet to Lue by the Lakers, but that they are proceeding toward an offer to Lue.