Los Angeles Lakers Cut Ties With Magic Johnson To Avoid Tampering Charges

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson is no longer officially involved with the franchise that he led to multiple championships in the NBA. The 6’9″ point guard had been openly talking on social media about stars that the team should target via free agency. To avoid tampering charges, the Lakers have removed Johnson from the staff, according to ESPN.

Through Twitter, Magic Johnson stated that he felt that the Los Angeles Lakers needed to pursue Kevin Durant and LeBron James in free agency. If he were just a fan, that would be fine. If he were just a former player, that would be acceptable. However, Johnson has the official title of vice president, so the Lakers are concerned about potential tampering charges.

The relationship between Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers has been damaged over the years. Johnson was very close with Jerry Buss, the previous owner of the Lakers. His relationship with Jim Buss has not been as friendly. In fact, Johnson has openly been very critical of Buss since he has taken over the franchise from his deceased father.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant [Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]
One of the main sources of discord between Magic Johnson and Jim Buss is the fact that the former believes that the latter needs to delegate more authority to Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak. Johnson believes that Kupchak is very capable of leading the team back to their winning ways. Buss, however, insists on being in charge.

Magic Johnson has publicly already pointed out that Jerry Buss was smart enough to delegate basketball decisions whenever he was in charge of the Los Angeles Lakers. The elder Buss had Jerry West on the payroll for years. West is considered one of the best executives in the history of the NBA.

While he held the title of vice president with the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson wasn’t officially on the pay roll. The title was more of an honorary one. Johnson also did not have any say in how the Lakers operated the team. It was simply just a way for one of the greatest players in the organization to be an ambassador.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James
LeBron James [Photo by Kevin C Cox/Getty IMages]
The belief is that Magic Johnson was simply trying to distance himself when he made those statements on Twitter. Most everyone in the NBA knows how difficult it will be for the Los Angeles Lakers to acquire either LeBron James or Kevin Durant via free agency. Both guys are more than likely going to stay where they’re at for at least another season.

Magic Johnson is also aware that the Los Angeles Lakers cannot simply fire him without cause. That will turn a lot of Lakers fans because Johnson is so beloved. By saying what he said on Twitter, Johnson is essentially giving the Lakers an easy way out. This makes things a whole lot easier for the Lakers public relations department.

Los Angeles Lakers owner Jim Buss
Jim Buss [Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]
With the retirement of Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers know that there is more pressure on them in free agency. In the past, Bryant was an excuse for management because several NBA players were hesitant to play with someone that dominated the ball as much as Bryant did.

Regardless of whether or not he has an official title with the team, Magic Johnson is always going to be associated with the Los Angeles Lakers. To many, he is the face of the franchise. Now that he is no longer officially attached, Johnson can be as vocal as he wants without needing to worry about consequences. For someone as passionate about the franchise as Johnson is, you can expect him to have plenty of things to say.

[Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images]

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