Lakers News: Magic Johnson Hasn't Spoken 'Directly' to Jeanie Buss Since Leaving

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: (L-R) Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss attend Kobe Bryant's jersey retirement ceremony during a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

Former Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson said he still makes suggestions to team CEO Jeanie Buss despite not speaking with her since his abrupt exit from the organization in April.

"I haven't talked to her directly," he told Bill Oram of The Athletic. "I've sent messages, I've left her messages. … I call her assistant or whoever and just like I say, 'Hey, we've got to do [the Anthony Davis trade].' I left them all a message: 'You've got to do it.' Because now you're set for 10 years, even after LeBron [James]. And I'm glad they did it."

Johnson added the Lakers' offseason doesn't hinge on adding a third superstar alongside James and Davis. He mentioned Seth Curry, Danny Green, Nikola Mirotic and JJ Redick as strong secondary free-agent options.

"There's guys like that," he told Oram. "There's a lot of guys. So we can't be just saying, 'Hey, if we don't get Kemba, if we don't get so and so, it was a disaster.' No. You've still got to fill out a lot of these roster spots."

L.A. landed Davis to provide some star power alongside LeBron, but it cost the team most of its leading depth assets—Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart—and the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 draft, which could have been used to add another secondary option.

So Johnson is right to point out the Lakers will need other weapons to fill out their roster, but he also suggested to Oram the team should explore a reunion with D'Angelo Russell should the Brooklyn Nets sign Irving and move on from their incumbent point guard.

"Now he's ready," Johnson said of Russell. "He's much more mature. I said the only thing, he was immature back then. He could always score, but the guys would never play with him because of what he did [with the Nick Young video]. But now all those guys are gone and he's on another level now."

It's unclear whether Buss is listening to Magic's ideas even though he stepped down from the franchise, a decision she discussed Monday night with reporters:

"It was a surprise when Magic turned in his resignation. I didn't see that coming. But everything else has been pretty much as any organization moves forward and changes going into a new season. So as much as has been speculated as to what the Lakers are doing, to me, we are in a really good place and we are following our path, and our plan, going into the next season."

All told, the Lakers have James and Davis, but there are still plenty of questions to answer before they can be deemed legitimate NBA championship contenders. Johnson is still sending his insights Buss' way, but she might not be be hearing them.

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