Johnson called an impromptu press conference Tuesday where he announced the news. And having those injuries and not being able to get used to one another I think really affected us. If I'm at the Lakers games - and I've been to a few - you've got directors and producers in my ear asking if he came here for basketball. As far as we know, that did not happen, and James seemingly made an easy transition from Cleveland to Los Angeles without a series of pitches from the teams Smith had mentioned. "I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job. I had more fun on the other side". On Wednesday morning, the members of the Lakers' young core were the only people with any standing in the organization who showed up to answer questions about what in the hell was going on in the wake of Johnson's shocking resignation a night earlier.
The Lakers entered the season with high expectations after they signed star LeBron James to a four-year, $153.3 million contract in July. He missed the next 17 games and the team never recovered. They opened with a 20-14 record, but James suffered a strained groin on December 25.
Although Bryant has stated multiple times that he doesn't want to work in basketball operations, there is also the Lakers myth-making that cast him as the mastermind behind Jeanie Buss finally deciding to fire her brother Jim.
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On top of that, they came out of halftime and built a double-digit lead over Tom Izzo's team. The Virginia Cavaliers are dancing on to the national championship game in Minneapolis .
Sources told USA Today Sports that James had no idea Johnson was leaving the team while ESPN reported that the NBA All-Star was "completely caught off guard" by the announcement. Los Angeles has now missed the playoffs for six straight seasons. Is it possible that without Johnson, James isn't in the Lakers' long-term plans?