Thursday, 19 September, 2019

Magic Johnson Calls Out Rob Pelinka for Backstabbing on First Take

Magic Johnson Luke Walton Lakers Magic Johnson explains abrupt Lakers departure, accuses GM Rob Pelinka of ‘backstabbing’
Shannon Reynolds | 20 May, 2019, 21:26

Jesse and Joey [Buss], hey, you're the general manager assistant to Rob. Johnson acknowledged an internal problem the night he quit, citing "backstabbing" and "whispering".

"If you're going to talk betrayal, it's only with Rob", Johnson said later in the interview.

Since then, Johnson and the Lakers have stayed relatively quiet until now. But he said Lakers owner Jeanie Buss approved that plan when hiring him.

Johnson put all his cards on the table, and in doing so he exposed a pretty high level of dysfunction within the Lakers organization, and while Johnson may be gone, numerous issues that he touched on continue to linger. It's time for me to go. "But there's a way to get that, and it's not talking about the person that's above you", Johnson added. I don't have the power I thought I had to make decisions. "And I (had) told them, 'When it's not fun for me and when I think I don't have the decision-making power I thought I had, then I gotta step aside". Is that OK? I said, do I have the power to make decisions?

"And then I start hearing: 'Magic, you're not working hard enough".

"What was insane was, when I took the job, you know how many agents called me, and said, 'You got to watch out for (Pelinka)?'" Johnson said. Now, it's in the media and so on.

"Just Rob", Johnson said. It's really amusing, as I sit here. I'm not a guy who is like, oh man, he said this about and I worry about it. And I'm OK with that. He's great. Former Laker, the whole thing. I said I didn't mind doing that because they're good guys. Not only does Johnson say the Lakers won't trade James. But he also indicated he saw ambition that created complications. "Magic's not in the office, '" Johnson told First Take. And then she brought Tim Harris into the meeting.

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"I wasn't having fun coming to work anymore, especially when I gotta work beside you, knowing that you want my position", Johnson said of Pelinka. "And we had, Max, three meetings".

"So I started getting calls from my friends outside of basketball (operations) saying those things are now being said to them outside of basketball". I said 'Listen, we've got to get a better coach.

Pelinka, 49, was an agent for many years - representing Kobe Bryant, among others - before the Lakers hired him in February 2017.

The NBA legend said he made a decision to move on from the Lakers after team owner Jeanie Buss chose not to act on his recommendation to fire head coach Luke Walton during the season. Luke's a great guy. I said, when I looked up, I only really answer to Jeanie Buss. Now, I've got Tim involved.

I told Dell Demps, 'Let's just do this in private.

Walton ultimately was sacked and quickly hired as head coach of the Sacramento Kings.

After Johnson's departure, the Lakers announced they would not fill the position that Johnson left.

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