Magic Johnson Willing to Help LA Lakers Recruit Free Agents to Franchise

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 5:  Earvin 'Magic' Johnson poses for a picture during a press conference to announce his purchase of the Los Angeles Sparks at STAPLES Center on February 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. 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 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Magic Johnson has made plenty of headlines during the 2013-14 season, but many of them have rubbed the Los Angeles Lakers the wrong way.

First it was the greatest point guard of all time telling the world during a discussion with Mike James of the Los Angeles Times that he thought Kobe Bryant should sit out the rest of the campaign, mostly because he didn't have much to return to. After that, he left the Mamba off his list of great winners while tweeting about Kevin Durant, and that created another media firestorm:

As B/R's Grant Hughes wrote, "Recently, the media mogul—who once owned a stake in the franchise—had been critical of the Lakers, taking aim at everything from their porous interior defense to their hiring of Mike D'Antoni."

To his credit, Magic later updated his list to include Kobe, and he apologized for his lack of support for the Lakers organization:

Fortunately for the Purple and Gold, it appears as if the helpful version of Magic is here to stay. 

"I love them. I’m going to support them. I asked Mitch [Kupchak] the other day if you want me to recruit this summer," the Hall of Famer told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. "People don’t know that was my role with Dr. Buss for a while. I was the first to call Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, all these guys. That was my job, calling them and recruiting them."

If he managed to get all of those key contributors to come to L.A., then the team could certainly use him going forward.

After all, these next couple offseasons are going to be quite crucial. Few players are actually on the books going forward, and cap space abounds as the Lakers attempt to restock via free agency and add a few pieces during the draft process.

The 2014 offseason might see players like Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James become available, and 2015 will do the same with Kevin Love, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and others. Not only do the Lakers have to find stars who complement Kobe, but they need players who can usher in the next era of basketball in Tinseltown.

It'll be a difficult process, so every bit of help is useful. Magic may have been leaving an icky taste behind for Lakers Nation during recent weeks, but successful recruiting would certainly reverse that feeling.


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