Magic Says Lakers Would Have Had Better Shot at Kawhi If He Were Still President

Omar Guerrero
2 Min Read

Had Magic Johnson stayed on as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, he would have had a chance to be more influential in the Kawhi Leonard recruitment.

More than that, Johnson believes that the Lakers would have had a better shot at acquiring Leonard this summer had he kept his front office position.

The Hall of Famer revealed his thoughts on the state of the Lakers franchise when he appeared on FS1’s “Undisputed” with hosts Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe on Friday.

“Kawhi, knowing him, knowing the uncle, we had some great conversations, too. So we would have had just as good a shot as we had before, but I think even better with me in that position,” Johnson said. “I’m not saying that he would have [come] to the Lakers, but I’m saying, I think we would have had a better shot at him.”

Leonard chose to sign with the Lakers’ rival Los Angeles Clippers last July after a courtship period that saw three teams try to acquire the 2019 NBA Finals MVP. Ultimately, Leonard decided to play for the L.A. team that didn’t include LeBron James and Anthony Davis on its roster.

Johnson abruptly resigned from his position before the 2018-19 season ended, shocking Lakers management, fans and the media alike. It was then up to general manager Rob Pelinka to engineer the Davis trade in June which set up the Purple and Gold to potentially land a third All-Star player on its roster.

However, Leonard dashed their hopes to pieces when he chose to go to the Clippers instead.

Nonetheless, the Lakers are still championship contenders with James and Davis leading the team, and a number of veterans on the roster hungry to win a title this season.

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Omar is a former writer for King James Gospel. The very first team he rooted for was the Showtime Lakers and his favorite player back then was James Worthy. Seeing the Purple and Gold win back-to-back championships in the '80s made him a basketball junkie for life. He has witnessed and celebrated every Lakers championship since then and is now looking forward to a new era of basketball in Tinseltown led by LeBron James.