Magic Johnson Spoke to Kawhi Leonard's Uncle Dennis Amid Lakers Rumors

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2019

Magic Johnson speaks to reporters prior to an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. Johnson abruptly quit as the Lakers' president of basketball operations Tuesday night, citing his desire to return to the simpler life he enjoyed as a wealthy businessman and beloved former player before taking charge of the franchise just over two years ago. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Despite resigning as Los Angeles Lakers president, Magic Johnson could still play a vital role in the team's free agency.

According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, free-agent forward Kawhi Leonard and his uncle, Dennis Robertson, have spoken to Johnson. However, the group haven't set an official meeting yet.

Leonard has reported interest in the Lakers and wanted Johnson to be part of the Lakers' pitch, but NBA rules prevent the former executive from being a part of official meetings with free agents, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

"A friend of mine called and says Kawhi wants to meet with you," Johnson said Friday. "I said no problem. I'm available if that's what this man wants."

After his sudden departure with the Lakers surprised nearly everyone, Johnson later explained on ESPN's First Take that he had a problem with general manager Rob Pelinka, who had been criticizing him behind his back.

Despite his apparent issues, the Hall of Famer said he wants to help Los Angeles going forward.

"I will help the Lakers anyway that I can," he said Friday, per Turner and Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. "If the NBA says I can only meet with Kawhi and it just has to be me and him and not the Lakers being around, I will do that. I love the Lakers and just want to do what's best for the Lakers and Jeanie Buss."

The organization has navigated the salary cap to create nearly enough space to sign a max free agent, per Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, and the goal appears to be landing a third star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

While this is a loaded free-agent class, Leonard is the top player available after leading the Toronto Raptors to an NBA title this past year and winning his second Finals MVP award. He would be a dream addition for the Lakers, and the signing seems possible.

According to Chris Broussard of Fox Sports, he is the "Lakers to lose."

Johnson could help put Los Angeles over the top this week.