During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up, Earvin “Magic” Johnson laid down his criticism of Lakers star LeBron James thick. It’s no secret that Los Angeles is a dumpster fire that no longers needs to grace national airwaves. But it wasn’t exactly common knowledge how the dumpster fire came together.
Magic aired all the dirty laundry out in the open, blaming James for the roster construction, specifically in regard to the Lakers not landing Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan.
“The blame that he’s gotta take is the fact that DeRozan ended up in Chicago and not with the Lakers,” Magic said.
Johnson revealed that DeRozan’s agent was in contact with him throughout free agency and that he was made aware that DeRozan wanted to join the Lakers this past offseason. Johnson claims he immediately told Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
The Bulls might not have DeMar DeRozan if it weren’t for LeBron James
James had a meeting with DeRozan and then decided to move in a different direction. According to Johnson, James, Anthony Davis and then-Wizards guard Russell Westbrook held a private meeting, and the team eventually traded for Westbrook. Johnson says therein lies the mistake on James’ part.
DeRozan, an LA county native and USC alum, is having a career year in Chicago. He’s averaging 28 points, five rebounds and five assists on 46% shooting from the field. The Bulls are 45-34 and are the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Westbrook is having an awful year — by his standards — and the Lakers are 31-47, currently in 11th place in the Western Conference. They are battling for the final play-in tournament spot, and are on the cusp of being eliminated from contention.
Westbrook’s poor play has been front and center. He’s averaging 18 points per game — his lowest mark since his second year in the NBA — while shooting 44% from the field and 29% from three. He’s averaging nearly four turnovers a game and has had repeated outbursts in his media availabilities.
Johnson also noted that if the Lakers hadn’t traded for Westbrook, who is owed $44 million this season and $47 million next season, they would’ve been able to retain key role players like Alex Caruso. Instead, Caruso along with DeRozan, came to Chicago and are going to end the Bull’s six-year playoff drought.