I thought yesterday was going to be another normal Tuesday night. I'd just finished a run of back-to-back-to-back tests and had an afternoon sponsored by more than a few Bol's Bowls As I was preparing to have a relaxing evening of new Uzi and cognitive ignorance, I checked my phone and saw a notification that Magic Johnson had resigned* as the Lakers' president of basketball operations. It's no secret that I haven't been a fan of Magic's moves as president and would've called for his firing barring a successful offseason, but he was able to bring my potential complaints to a halt pretty quickly with last night's announcement. *There needs to be a new word for stepping down in sports. Resign and re-sign are such polar opposites that it's a necessity for them to be separated by more than a hyphen.
Last night was a wild one in the NBA. The last few days of the season are usually a snooze fest but for some reason the best soap opera on TV decided to step it up the episode before the finale. Dwyane Wade played his last game in Miami and went off for 30, Dirk Nowitzki also put up 30 in his final home game, Jamal Crawford put up 51, and Paul George hit a game-winning three against the (future champion) Rockets. While these would otherwise be major talking points for media and NBA Twitter alike, the Magic Johnson fiasco shrouded it all.
Is Magic quitting right before the last game of the season the wildest thing that's happened this year? Part of me feels like this should've been predictable, but more on that in my mag piece. BURBS MAGAZINE APRIL 15. Shameless self-promotion aside, this is the most Lakers thing to happen to the Lakers this season. Minutes before Luke Walton is supposed to be coaching his last game, Jeanie Buss is probably getting situated in her elegant Staples Center club while Kyle Kuzma is crafting a tweet and LeBron is getting the most intense rehab of all-time on his groin. It's all normal until boom, Magic Johnson quits. Quits! I just laughed. This is such a ridiculous situation that it's hard to be frustrated by it. How do you quit your job as PRESIDENT of one of, if not the, most storied franchise in league history and not even tell the owner, somebody you consider to be family. Sure, when I quit my job at Mariano's junior of high school I didn't give them much notice, but I was a bottom-tier cashier, not trying to trade my entire team for Anthony Davis to no avail.
Magic's change of heart may have come for the better so it's not like this is necessarily a negative situation for the Lakers. The media has already focused on them more than anyone else in the league and there's no way the tenth seed in the West has ever been covered this much. A lot of speculation has stemmed from the moves Magic wanted to make and the fallout of the deals he (and GM Rob Pelinka) actually closed. It's been reported that Magic was never that involved as president which is interesting considering how much time goes into crafting a championship-caliber team. Like he touched on in his press conference, Magic has a lot of other business ventures to keep in check and he fits the role of "basketball ambassador" for the entire league much better than trying to operate one team. The man obviously loves to talk to players throughout the league and is always tiptoeing around tampering; it's better that he steps away and gets back to "being Magic".
What now? Apparently Luke Walton and his coaching staff were supposed to be fired by Magic this morning but since, ya know, he quit, Walton is safe (for now). There aren't many other options out there at the moment to replace Walton should he be fired so it should probably be left to whoever fills the president role. General manager Rob Pelinka still has a job even though there's not much evidence that he's a competent GM so it only makes sense that he's expected to gain more power. There are a few intriguing routes for the Lakers to go post-Magic but since it's the Lakers, it's hard to even predict what they're going to do. Do they bring back Jerry West? Maybe throw the checkbook at Sam Presti? There have been murmurs of pairing Laker legend Kobe Bryant with former agent Pelinka; Jeanie, please don't do it. Don't take down Kobe next. Hasn't there been enough damage already? The Lakers are worth around $3 billion so money clearly isn't an issue for their next hire. If they can find the perfect fit to work with Walton, Pelinka, and LeBron, just give them a blank check. It's about to be Year 16 for LeBron; as much as I hate to admit it, the clock is ticking and the Lakers need to move fast. Hopefully Magic just gave them the keys to the beginning of their destiny.
If you've made it this far, hey. Thanks for reading. Keep listening to The Fro and The Flow on Spotify, Apple Music, honestly wherever you listen to pods. I post the Spotify link because that's what I use, but just look up "Burbs Radio" on any other streaming service and you'll find it. If you haven't yet, go listen to Futon Football from Fadden and Sheehan and keep an eye out for BURBS MAGAZINE launching April 15. Thanks for the continued support, we all genuinely appreciate it.