Magic Johnson Talks Lakers Betrayal: "It's Only With Rob Pelinka"

Carrie Guzman
May 20, 2019

Magic Johnson has stepped down from his position as Lakers' president of basketball operations.

On Monday, however, Johnson spun an entirely different tale, mainly that he resented the "backstabbing" and "whispering" behind his back, and he pointed the finger directly at General Manager Rob Pelinka, who was hired by the Lakers at the same time Johnson assumed the team's presidency. Now, not just in the Lakers office anymore. Magic's not in the office'. Then Josh Hart. So things got going in the right direction. I showed (Jeanie) the things he did well and the things he didn't do well. And I didn't like those things being said behind my back, that I wasn't in office enough and so on and on. "That I wasn't in the office enough and on and on". So I start getting calls from my friends outside of basketball saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball. "Now it's in the media and so on".

Johnson said during his initial resignation press conference that he was exhausted of the backstabbing that goes on in the National Basketball Association.

"The straw that broke the camel's back was I wanted to fire Luke Walton", Johnson said. "And we had, Max, three meetings". And I said: 'Listen, we gotta get a better coach. Tim wanted to keep him because he was friends with Luke. "She said yes. I said, 'Do I have the power to make decisions?' because that was important for me to take the job, as well".

He also believes former Lakers coach and Buss's former fiance, Phil Jackson, still advises her. "I didn't like that Tim Harris was too involved in basketball". Not only does Johnson say the Lakers won't trade James. You've got to stop people from having those voices.

Johnson put all his cards on the table, and in doing so he exposed a pretty high level of dysfunction within the Lakers organization, and while Johnson may be gone, numerous issues that he touched on continue to linger. So you know that I'm going to be in and out, is that okay with you?

"If you want to elevate yourself, I'm all for that", Johnson said. Is that OK? I said, do I have the power to make decisions? I'm not a guy who is like, oh man, he said this about and I worry about it. Johnson noted that Pelinka was emphasizing how he was not present, nor working hard enough at his position. "Just Rob, ' he said".

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The Lakers proceeded to crash out of the playoff race in embarrassing fashion for both Johnson and James.

"So I said 'okay, let's go do it'". Well, Dell didn't do that.

Walton parted ways with Los Angeles when it became clear he was on the verge of being fired before Johnson quit. While the 59-year-old thought he only had to answer to Buss, it appears she listens to numerous individuals within the organization such as Harris, special projects executive director Linda Rambis, and senior basketball advisor Kurt Rambis. "He's going to be in that room recruiting". "It's gotta be Jeanie, LeBron and Rob and probably [new coach] Frank [Vogel], that's it".

Magic began the segment by saying that he had an understanding with Jeanie Buss that he had other business interests and thus would not be in the office every day, and that he had decision-making power.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

The Lakers compiled their best record in six years this season, but were eliminated from playoff contention by Russell in a March 22 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

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