Lakers News: Magic Johnson Plans to 'Hug' LA Players After Trade Deadline Drama

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations, Earvin
Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Nearly every player on the Los Angeles Lakers roster not named LeBron James found themselves in the rumor mill leading up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline, which may make for some awkward situations, as most of the roster remains intact.

Lakers president Magic Johnson let it be known Saturday that he plans to get through it all by hugging his players, per the Associated Press:

This comes one day after Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported Johnson planned to meet with his players this weekend in Philadelphia to discuss the Anthony Davis rumors.

Johnson also noted Saturday that trade rumors are a part of the business side of professional sports.

Los Angeles reportedly made a number of offers to the New Orleans Pelicans for Davis, including one that featured nearly half its roster. Per Turner, one of the Lakers' proposals included Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and a pair of first-round picks. 

Beasley was the only one of that group moved at the deadline—and that was in a swap with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The trade rumors appeared to have the team on the verge of collapse, as a 42-point loss to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday dropped the Lakers to 27-27. However, they responded with a hard-fought 129-128 victory over the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.

James and Co. are 1.5 games back of the eighth spot in the Western Conference. While trade rumors can affect team chemistry, Johnson wants his players to focus on snapping the franchise's five-year playoff drought.

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