Magic Johnson Hopes Lakers Don't Trade LeBron James amid Rumors About Contract

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 7, 2022

CLEVELAND, OH - FEBRUARY 20: Magic Johnson of the NBA 75th Anniversary team talks to LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game as part of 2022 NBA All Star Weekend on February 20, 2022 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson said the franchise shouldn't trade LeBron James despite the disappointing 2021-22 season.

"LeBron I hope will be a Laker for a long time," Johnson told TMZ Sports in an interview released Saturday.

Magic wasn't interested in answering the other Lakers questions thrown his way aside from making it clear he has no interest in becoming the team's next head coach.

L.A. endured one of the most frustrating seasons in recent NBA history as injuries to James and Anthony Davis combined with underwhelming play from blockbuster offseason acquisition Russell Westbrook caused the team to miss the playoffs with a 33-49 record.

Head coach Frank Vogel was fired at season's end, and speculation has swirled about what type of moves the Lakers will make over the summer to help right the ship.

While trading James, 37, would typically be near the bottom of that list, his contract situation and recent comments cloud the outlook a bit.

The four-time NBA MVP can become a free agent after the 2022-23 campaign with the conclusion of his two-year, $85.7 million contract.

In recent months, he's discussed both his hope to one day play alongside Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry and his desire to finish his NBA career on the same team as his son, Bronny James, a potential 2024 draft pick.

So if the Lakers think LeBron is going to hit the free-agent market next summer and never look back, a trade must be at least considered this offseason.

Johnson, who guided the franchise to five NBA titles during his playing days, is hoping a different resolution can be found to keep the league's longtime gold standard in L.A. for the long haul.