Johnson has held the post since February of 2017.
Johnson’s decision comes after a disappointing season that proved even LeBron James‘ otherworldly talent couldn’t lift the long-struggling Lakers into the postseason. Johnson announced that he was leaving the Lakers ahead of the team’s final game of the season. He shared this announcement with the press before contacting team owner Jeanie Buss.
The lack of communication seems to be par for the course for the 2019 Lakers, a team as renowned for their locker room rifts as they are the presence of James. In a post-mortem on the season by The Athletic, the team appeared to be an uncommunicative mess and recent reports say that Johnson and head coach Luke Walton haven’t spoken in weeks.
“The Lakers need to have a coach that has a cohesion with the front office. Jeanie Buss has made it very clear that she is going to let Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka make this final decision,” said ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “She’s letting her basketball people make the basketball decision. Luke Walton and Magic Johnson haven’t spoken for weeks.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski pointed out that the rest of the Lakers staff is expected to be axed, while criticizing Johnson for the way he handled the situation.
Wojnarowski also reported that Johnson and Pelinka met with LeBron and Rich Paul this past Saturday but did not inform them that he was contemplating on stepping down.
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