Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Magic Johnson: Kobe Bryant should threaten to retire if Lakers don’t sign a star this summer

Magic Johnson pledged to stop complaining about the Lakers.

It lasted three months.

Now, he wants Kobe Bryant to pressure vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss.


Magic on Stephen A. Smith’s SiriusXM radio show, as transcribed by Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

    “And I really believe this: [Kobe] should … say to Jim and them, ‘Look, if you don’t sign one of these free agents [this offseason], man, I’m just not going to play next year,'” Johnson said.

    Smith then asked Johnson whether he would advise Bryant to retire if the Lakers don’t acquire a marquee free agent in the summer of 2015.

    “You almost gotta say that because if you come back with the same level of talent, you’re just going to have the same results,” Johnson said. “You know, so, look, Kobe, put pressure on Jim to say, ‘Look, man, you’ve got to bring me some talent, some help, so that this can be a great season for the Lakers and a great season for me, being my last season, and then I can retire.'”


Of course, the Lakers should try to sign a star this summer. Buss doesn’t need Kobe to tell him that. Buss is putting enough pressure on himself, anyway.

What would Kobe – who’s injured and will have difficulty returning next season even if he desires – giving that ultimatum accomplish?

It’d only increase the possibility of a Kobe-Buss rift, which might be what Johnson wants. This is mostly about Johnson denigrating Buss.

Johnson, as transcribed by Holmes:

    “Jim is trying to do it himself and trying to prove to everybody that this was the right decision that [his] dad gave [him] the reins,” Johnson said Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “He’s not consulting anybody that can help him achieve his goals and dreams to win an NBA championship.”

    “If Jim would say, ‘OK, Mitch. You run the show,’ I think it would be a lot better for the Lakers, too. Mitch Kupchak knows what he’s doing. He’s great. He’s smart. He’s hard-working. He’s at every practice. I think the fans would feel good [if he ran the team] as well,” Johnson said.

    “If he doesn’t have a big summer with a free agent,” Johnson said, “it looks like they’ll have a good draft pick. Put that together with a good free agent, you can be right back into the mix. If this summer, that doesn’t happen where they can sign a great player, it’s over for us.”

Mitch Kupchak should have a large role in the front office. Johnson’s innuendo isn’t enough to convince me Kupchak doesn’t.

I don’t know what Johnson is trying to accomplish, but he’s just stirring up problems – and he’s doing it while the Lakers are down and most susceptible to in-fighting. They’ll probably tune him out, but even if their troubles worsen… “It’s over for us”? Talk about overdramatic.

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