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Lakers' Players Starting Over To Impress New Front Office

Feb 25, 2017 10:54 AM

The Los Angeles Lakers' players are already feeling the presence of Magic Johnson, who was part of a front office regime change this week.

Johnson was on the road with the Lakers in Oklahoma City over the past two days.

“It’s like you’re starting over and trying to impress,” said D'Angelo Russell.

“Everybody has to look over their shoulders once again. It’s like coming to a new team. You try to impress the GMs and the guys in the front office with your play and off the court, the way you handle yourself. It’s just all different.”

Luke Walton has also welcomed Johnson's presence and input at practice.

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA

Lakers Advised Not To 'Gut' Team To Trade For Paul George

Feb 24, 2017 2:39 PM

While the future of Paul George wasn't decided at the deadline, his preference of options became somewhat clear.

George will strongly consider signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 if the Indiana Pacers aren't in contention for a title.

"Here's the issue with Paul George: he's made it clear that if he's going to leave Indiana, he's going home to L.A.," said Wojnarowski. "He grew up in southern California. Big Kobe Bryant fan. His dad is a big Magic Johnson fan. Obviously Magic is running the organization now.

"The direction that I was told that the Lakers got in the last couple of days was 'hey, don't gut your team to go get Paul George.'

"Magic Johnson did lob a call to Larry Bird, but if you're the Lakers and you don't have a tremendous amount of assets, they have some young players they hope will develop. They're going to sit back and wait to sign him as a free agent. They're going to have cap space in 2018.

"If they were to try to trade for him, they would have to give up the core of their team and Paul George is going to have no one to play with there.

"I think this is how the Pacers are looking at this. All things being equal, they know that Paul George would rather be in L.A., but they are not equal."

If George doesn't qualify for the supermax contract, the Pacers can sign him to a five-year, $180 million deal while a rival team can sign him to a four-year, $132 million deal.

The Nuggets were essentially warned that George will sign with the Lakers in 2018 if they trade for him.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Paul George, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Lakers Trade Marcelo Huertas To Rockets For Tyler Ennis

Feb 23, 2017 2:55 PM

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade Marcelo Huertas to the Houston Rockets for Tyler Ennis.

The Rockets will waive Huertas to clear more cap room for the buyout market.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Tags: Marcelinho Huertas, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Paul George Won't Commit Long-Term To Team Other Than Pacers, Lakers

Feb 23, 2017 10:50 AM

Paul George has been clear his preference is to remain with the Indiana Pacers if they can become title contenders but signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018 is his Plan B.

George's priorities with his immediate future have made other teams hesitant to trade for him. George won't commit long-term to teams beyond the Pacers and Lakers.

George recently met with Pacers' owner Herb Simon for a cordial conversation about his future.

The Pacers are pursuing two paths as they look to improve their roster around George while also listening to trade offers.

Chris Haynes/ESPN

Tags: Paul George, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Lakers, Kings Could Be Trade Partner For 76ers On Jahlil Okafor

Feb 23, 2017 1:01 AM

The Philadelphia 76ers have had discussions with 10 or 11 teams on a trade for Jahlil Okafor.

The New Orleans Pelicans, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Chicago Bulls were teams that had expressed some interest but the Bulls and Nuggets are no longer interested while the Blazers and Pelicans have made trades for centers.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are possible trading partners for Okafor.

“I’m happy here,” Okafor said when asked if he wants a new start with a different team. “I’ve been here. This is all I know as far as the NBA goes. I’ve gotten real comfortable with the coaches, and my teammates. If I’m here, I’d be more than happy.”

Keith Pompey/Philadelphia Daily News

Tags: Jahlil Okafor, Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia Sixers, Sacramento Kings, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Lakers Seeking 2nd Round Pick For Nick Young

Feb 23, 2017 12:35 AM

The Los Angeles Lakers are seeking a second round pick for Nick Young at the deadline.

Young was a buyout candidate last offseason but he's recouped his value this season under Luke Walton.

Marc Stein/ESPN

Tags: Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Magic Reaches Out To Bird With Lakers' Interest In Paul George

Feb 22, 2017 11:54 PM

The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of several teams to inquire to the Indiana Pacers about the availability of Paul George.

The conversation didn't advance beyond the initial expression of interest, but it was notable due to the fact Magic Johnson and Larry Bird spoke to each other on the call.

Johnson was named President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers on Tuesday.

Johnson also addressed the Lakers' players and coaches when they reported for practice Wednesday afternoon.

"Magic came down and talked to the team," Luke Walton said. "He wanted to come down and, first of all, say hi to everyone and let them know that he's here to support and be there for them. It was a quick meeting, but it's good to get in front of each other.

"It was a strange day because I am very close with Jimmy and Mitch and I really enjoyed working with them," Walton continued. "I had great talks with both of them on the telephone afterwards. They were both very supportive. Both gave the message of continue to work, keep working with the young guys. It was definitely a little sad. I think it's important to remember all the great things they did when they were here, too.

"Then, on the other hand, you have Earvin coming in and he's in there and he's making phone calls. It was great to work with him. It was a unique, interesting day in terms of the emotions going on. But the main thing everyone talked about was 'We have a job to do still.'"

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Tags: Paul George, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Black Execs Disappointed Magic Johnson Didn't Open Up GM Job For Interviews

Feb 22, 2017 4:27 PM

Magic Johnson's decision to hire Rob Pelinka as general manager without conducting an interview process came as a disappointment to many qualified African-American executives employed with other teams.

“It’s always done in private and way in advance,” one high-ranking black NBA team executive said. “We got no shot once the news breaks.”

Another high-ranking black NBA team executive said: “I was surprised.”

Pelinka is best known as the longtime agent for Kobe Bryant.

“Los Angeles has always been about hype,” one high-ranking black NBA team executive said. “Kobe obviously had influence in getting Pelinka pushed through the door.”

“I heard that this was coming,” another high-ranking black NBA team executive said. “He has a real connection with Kobe.”

Of the eight high-ranking African-American NBA team executives The Undefeated spoke to, none expressed any malicious intent toward Johnson or Pelinka. They did all say, however, that they would have appreciated an opportunity to interview for the job.

“We just want to compete. Guys with practical basketball experience, that’s what it’s about. Don’t give me anything. We just want to compete,” one high-ranking black NBA team executive said.

“Nothing surprises me in this business,” one high-ranking black NBA team executive said. “Analytic guys getting jobs. Coaches being named executives. Now it’s the agents’ turn. Everyone except the people who have the practical basketball experience are getting shots.”

Marc J. Spears/The Undefeated

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

Magic Johnson Will Empower Rob Pelinka Yet Retain Final Say

Feb 22, 2017 1:45 AM

Magic Johnson is entering his role with the Los Angeles Lakers committed and sober about the challenges the franchise faces in rebuilding.

"I understand what I'm up against, but I'm here, and I'm here for the long haul, and eventually we will turn it around."

Johnson said he wants to empower his general manager, Rob Pelinka, to make decisions, but also noted, "Anything to do with trades, [the] draft, is, of course, going to end with me."

He added later, "You don't know that I'm a control freak. You don't get to where I am without being one. I'm going to make sure that I set the strategy, that I set the tone and that this organization is going to be about excellence on and off the court. That's what we're going to be about. And then everybody will have a clear role, and, of course, I'm a point guard, so I like to work with everybody."

Johnson also emphasized that he needs to learn the nuances of the NBA's latest collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap, analytics and more -- key elements of today's game that weren't as important when he starred in the 1980s.

"Those days are over with," Johnson said, adding that he'll accept NBA commissioner Adam Silver's offer to visit New York City soon to learn more about the CBA. "The salary cap and the new CBA has changed the game of basketball."

Johnson believes the Lakers don't have the same advantages as they had in his era on team building.

"It was easier then," Johnson said, "because free-agent movement or even making trades were easier back then, but now it's a little bit more difficult with the new CBA. And then with the new CBA, everybody is really trying to keep their young talent. So player movement is not going to be as easy as it used to be.

"Players today, whether they're coming to us or any other team, have got to buy into that vision and have got to say, 'Look, I can see it. This organization is about winning.' We've always been about winning. And you've got the right coach, you've got the right management team, you've got the right ownership, and so we're looking forward to going out and pitching to free agents."

Johnson plans on giving the Lakers his full attention despite his myriad of businesses and frequent speaking engagements.

"Everything is going smooth in my businesses," he said. "I can step away now. If it had been five years ago, 10 years ago, I couldn't do it, but the timing was right."

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Tags: Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

Rockets Acquire Lou Williams From Lakers For 1st Rounder, Corey Brewer

Feb 21, 2017 7:42 PM

The Houston Rockets are finalizing a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers for Lou Williams.

The Rockets will send Corey Brewer and a first round pick to the Lakers for Williams.

The deal is the first for the Lakers since they fired Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss to elevate Magic Johnson to President of Basketball Operations.

Williams signed with the Lakers in 2015 on a three-year, $21 million contract.

The Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards also pursued a trade for Williams.

Shams Charania/The Vertical

Tags: Lou Williams, Corey Brewer, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA Trade Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor

Lakers Hire Rob Pelinka As GM
Jeanie Buss has hired Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka to run the basketball operations of the Lakers.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Bob Myers Was Lakers' Original Top Choice To Become GM
The Lakers are pivoting to Rob Pelinka as their top candidate with Bob Myers unavailable.

Adrian Wojnarowski/The Vertical

Lakers' Pursuit Of Cousins Was Kupchak/Buss 'Last-Ditch Attempt To Save Job'
Jim Buss badly wanted the Lakers to trade for Cousins, but it was Mitch Kupchak who handled the talks.

Sam Amick/USA Today

Rob Pelinka, Arn Tellem Considered Candidates For Lakers' GM Job
Rob Pelinka is the longtime agent of Kobe Bryant, who also represents James Harden, Andre Iguodala and Avery Bradley.

Ramona Shelburne, Marc Stein/ESPN

Lakers Name Magic Johnson President Of Basketball Operations
The Lakers have fired Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss will no longer have a role on the basketball side of the team.

RealGM Staff Report

Kings Break Off DeMarcus Cousins Trade Talks With Lakers
The Kings were seeking Brandon Ingram as part of a trade with the Lakers for DeMarcus Cousins.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Lakers More Active In Trade Talks This Season Heading To Deadline
Lou Williams and Nick Young are the most likely players who could be traded.

Tania Ganguli, Mike DiGiovanna/Los Angeles Times

Magic Johnson Wants To Hire Kobe Bryant For Front Office Job With Lakers
Magic Johnson has been vocal in saying that he'd like to "call the shots" and that the front office must work together.


Magic Johnson Expects Lakers' Rebuild To Take 3-5 Years
Magic Johnson told Jeanie Buss that he didn't think the Lakers were moving in "a good direction."

Mike DiGiovanna/Los Angeles Times

Magic Johnson Hopes To 'Call The Shots' With Lakers, Studying CBA
Magic Johnson said the decision on his role rests solely with Jeanie Buss as Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak remain in the front office.

Josh Peter/USA Today

Magic Johnson Not Expected To Handle GM Duties With Lakers
Magic Johnson was hired to advise and not do the heavy lifting of scouting and plotting out maneuvers.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Agent: Mitch Kupchak Is NBA's Only GM Who Doesn't Engage Before July 1st
Magic Johnson has heard from agents and executives from other teams that Mitch Kupchak's deliberate style can be frustrating to deal with and has likely been the reason for the free agency struggles.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Jim Buss Excited To Work With Magic Johnson For Years To Come
Jim Buss asked to schedule a meeting after the All-Star break where he and Mitch Kupchak could explain their decision-making over the past few seasons to Magic Johnson.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Jerry West Intrigued By Potential Return To Lakers
The current deal of Jerry West with the Warriors expires this July and there have been no serious talks about an extension.

Tim Kawakami/San Jose Mercury News

BPI: Lakers Have 44.4 Percent Chance Of Landing Top-3 Pick
If the Lakers don't convey their pick to the 76ers this year, they also benefit by converting a first round pick owed to the Magic from the Dwight Howard trade into two second rounders.

Chad Ford/ESPN

Magic Johnson Returns To Lakers As Basketball, Business Advisor
Magic Johnson's duties will include, but not be limited to, advising ownership on all business and basketball matters, collaborating with coaches, evaluating and mentoring players, assessing future franchise needs, and helping ownership to determine the b

RealGM Staff Report

Jeanie Buss Meets With Magic Johnson
While the exact nature of the meeting was not immediately clear, Jeanie Buss has been soliciting opinions on the direction of the franchise moving forward.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Damian Lillard: D'Angelo Russell 'Poked The Bear'
D'Angelo Russell engaged Damian Lillard in a war of words and had to be separated.

Baxter Holmes/ESPN

Luke Walton: Lamar Odom 'Would Be Great' In Coaching Role
Lamar Odom and Luke Walton were teammates on the Lakers from 2004 until 2011.

Mark Medina/Orange County Register

Lakers Unlikely To Make Trade Despite Not Having Any 'Untouchable' Players
The Lakers are unlikely to be active in trade talks leading to the deadline.

Anthony Irwin/Silver Screen & Roll