Magic Johnson’s infamous tenure ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers has finally come to an end, as the Showtime superstar shocked the world by announcing his desire to resign no a surprise press conference.
Johnson was supposed to bring back glory to the franchise he helped win 5 Championships, but instead, the team starred one of the most disappointing stories of the season and pretty much wasted one year of LeBron James’ prime.
Looking back, Johnson’s stint as president of basketball operations was full of controversial moves, and now, it will be up to a very brave person to try and fix up his mess. If you’re wondering what were his most important moves in charge of the Lakers, we’ll break them down for you:
Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee
Michael Beasley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Magic Johnson sure put together an interesting locker room, to say the least. Michael Beasley barely made the rotation, while Lance Stephenson was, well, Lance Stephenson. Rondo was solid but was injured for most of the season.
JaVale McGee and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were the lone bright spots here, as one excelled as a rim-running big man, while the other was really solid in both ends of the hardwood. So, there’s that.
Magic Johnson played a major part in convincing LeBron James of joining the Los Angeles Lakers. He had a sit down with the King to discuss the team’s future, a future he’s no longer part of.
Signing LeBron is always a huge win for a team’s front office. Even so, this year did nothing but hurt the King’s legacy and credibility around the league. He may be regretting this move right now, to be honest.
Michael Beasley And Ivica Zubac To The Los Angeles Clippers
Magic Johnson was desperate to get more help for his Los Angeles Lakers right away, while also opening a roster spot and cleaning some cap space so he tried to move Michael Beasley to the Clippers.
Moreover, he also offered Ivica Zubac, even though the Clippers hadn’t asked for him, in return for Mike Muscala. Naturally, the Clippers gently accepted Magic’s offer, and then had a couple of laughs about it.
Jordan Clarkson And Larry Nance Jr To The Cleveland Cavaliers
Magic Johnson sent a couple of hard-working role players to the Cavaliers to try and give LeBron James more help when he was still at Cleveland, absorbing a couple of expiring deals and a pick in the way.
Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye would go on to leave the team at the end of the season, so it was a good move for the Lakers, at least on paper, as they cleared enough cap space to sign LeBron James.
Timofey Mozgov And D’Angelo Russell To The Brooklyn Nets
This one may be the most controversial move of the Magic Johnson era. He pretty much used D’Angelo Russell to dump Timofey Mozgov’s salary in return for Brook Lopez and the Nets’ 27th overall pick: Kyle Kuzma.
While Kuzma made an instant impact for the team and looks like the best prospect in their roster, Russell went on to play the best ball of his career and get his first All-Star nod, while Lopez isn’t even with the team anymore.
Lonzo Ball (2017)
One of Magic’s first moves in charge of the Lakers was drafting Lonzo Ball with the 2nd overall pick of the Draft. This move was a no-brainer for him, he was a great fit, they lacked a starting point guard, and he had excelled at UCLA.
Magic decided to ignore LaVar Ball’s constant shenanigans and saw Lonzo as his point guard of the future. It’s still pretty early to tell how this is going to pay up for the Lakers, although they could’ve got guys of the likes of De’Aaron Fox, Donovan Mitchell, or Lauri Markkanen.
Moritz Wagner (2018)
Johnson and the Lakers weren’t able to keep their own pick, so they were forced to trade with the Philadelphia 76ers instead. Magic used that 25th overall pick to draft Moritz Wagner, a so-called poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki out of Michigan.
Wagner wasn’t able to make an impact for the team during his rookie season, as he was sidelined with injuries throughout most of the year. Still, it doesn’t look like he’s going to be more than just a role player. Sadly, guys like Mitchell Robinson, Landry Shamet, and Robert Williams were drafted after him.
Julius Randle was one of the most improved players of the year following last season’s All-Star break. He improved as a ball-handler, as a shooter, and even as a defender. You just couldn’t outwork him.
Even so, Johnson rathered sign Michael Beasley, whom he thought could be as good as Randle, instead of just resigning their former lottery pick. Randle went on to have the best season of his career and is finally looking like the guy they hoped to get when they first drafted him.
Magic reportedly ignored the coaching staff’s desire to resign Brook Lopez for this upcoming season, even though the big man wasn’t about to demand a huge salary and he had been a solid fit for Walton’s system.
Lopez became a completely different player with the Milwaukee Bucks and was one of the best three-point shooting big men in the league. He was a key part of a 60 win team, and the Lakers craved shooting all year long.