Johnson blasts Lakers GM after shock exit


Rob Pelinka, general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers talks to Earvin Magic Johnson, president of basketball operations of the Lakers before the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on September 30, 2017 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

"I started hearing, "I'm not working hard enough, Magic's not in the office, '" Johnson said".

"I think the most important thing for me is the two years getting to work side by side with Earvin are some of the greatest memories I have", Pelinka said.

Johnson said he was also warned by multiple agents when he became president of the Lakers to be careful of Pelinka.

Johnson said he'd been clear with Buss that his role would be limited when he accepted the job, due to his outside responsibilities.

Johnson said he resigned April 9 after the organization pushed back on his decision to fire Walton.

With turmoil - and losses - mounting this season, Johnson said he reached a point where he felt the Lakers needed to go in a different direction, leading to a situation with then-coach Luke Walton that Johnson described as "the straw that broke the camel's back" in his tenure. The Buss children's father, Jerry, had long envisioned Johnson in a powerful role in the Lakers' front office, and Jeanie put Magic in charge of shaking up her storied franchise in decline. And I said, "Listen, we gotta get a better coach.' I like him".

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"So when we went back and forth like that and then she brought (Lakers COO) Tim Harris to the meeting ... and Tim wanted to keep him because he's friends with Luke". And so when I looked up I said: 'Wait a minute, I only really answer to Jeannie Buss.

Johnson abruptly stepped down as President of the Lakers on the eve of the regular season. "Especially when I gotta work beside [Pelinka], knowing that you want my position". Because I didn't like that Tim Harris [Lakers executive] was too involved in basketball.

Though he said the backstabbing came from only Pelinka, Johnson clearly had friction with other members of the organization. But he said Lakers owner Jeanie Buss approved that plan when hiring him.

Here's what you have to remember, and it's something Johnson effectively confirmed during the interview: Magic Johnson wanted to be president of the Lakers. It's time for me to go. "And I didn't like those things being said behind my back, that I wasn't in the office enough". "You can't have everybody think that they can have a voice or have an opinion about the final decision". But that hasn't stopped him from making a few bold predictions.

"I've got things happening being said behind my back". The Lakers missed the playoffs for a sixth straight season.

It didn't work out for Johnson or Demps, who was sacked after the trade deadline.