Magic Johnson Says Lakers Would Not Be in 'Position They Are in Without Me' - Lakers Daily

Magic Johnson Says Lakers Would Not Be in ‘Position They Are in Without Me’

Magic Johnson Lakers Richard Mackson / USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers currently sit atop the Western Conference standings, and Magic Johnson believes he should be given ample credit for the team’s success this season.

“This team would not be in the position it’s in without me,” Johnson said according to Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times.

Johnson hasn’t been a part of the Lakers organization since he abruptly resigned from his position as president of basketball operations last April. The team failed to reach the playoffs during his two-year tenure despite the presence of LeBron James during the 2018-19 season.

But the Lakers legend pointed out that he sowed the seeds along with general manager Rob Pelinka that have led to the franchise’s current position as one of the NBA’s top teams.

“He talks about the trades he and Pelinka made to clear the salary cap space to sign James, notably the dealing of Timofey Mozgov and D’Angelo Russell,” wrote Plaschke. “He talks about his recruitment of James. He talks about the players they drafted — Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart — who were included in the deal for Anthony Davis.”

In his own words, Johnson said that this was his vision all along to get the Lakers to this position.

“This was my strategy, this is what I thought we’d be in three years,” Johnson explained. “I knew we were on the right track. Everybody wanted to do it their way, but I’m good with who I am. … I think people respect what I’ve done for the team.”

Though Johnson wants credit to be given to him, there is much more to be said about the excellent job that Pelinka has done without him.

Pelinka orchestrated the team’s summer haul that included the trade for Davis, as well as the free agent signings of Danny Green, Avery Bradley and the return of Dwight Howard to the Purple and Gold, among many others.

It’s unclear whether Pelinka would have been able to do his job as masterfully as he has the past few months with Johnson around, but the five-time NBA champion can rest easy knowing that the team is in good hands.