Magic Johnson doesn’t appreciate this year’s Lakers squad tarnishing his legacy.
And he made it clear recently who he thought was responsible for the team’s less than stellar performance. But even though he specifically called out Lamar Odom and Ron Artest for “not being hungry enough,” he sees other player flaws as well.
The Lakers are publicly expressing optimism about coming back from an 0-3 deficit in their Western Conference semifinal series against the Dallas Mavericks.
But don’t count Magic Johnsonas one of them. The Lakers great argued as an ESPN NBA analyst Saturday that the Lakers, and owner Jerry Buss, will need to make serious changes to their veteran-heavy roster during the off-season. Johnson’s most pointed suggestion involved the Lakers’ trading for Dwight Howard, even if it means giving up Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol or Lamar Odom.
“Dr. Buss has a lot of work to do,” said Johnson. “He’s probably going to have to blow this team up after the season if the Lakers lose this series because you have to come back with some fresh faces. You have to pick between the two big men with which one you keep and then you trade the other one.”
Johnson didn’t aim his criticism solely at the Lakers’ front line, arguing that everybody outside of Kobe Bryant should be considered trade bait in what will be an uncertain off-season.
“The Lakers have two problems,” said Johnson. “They’re too slow and they have no athletes. This is an athletic league now. When you think about all the teams that are in the playoffs right now, they all can run fast and jump high.
“Sometimes you can be together too long,” he continued. “This group has been probably together too long.
Too bad the O.G. is really just blowing hot air: he sold his minority ownership in the Lakers so we doubt any of these young boys still getting NBA checks are losing sleep over Magic’s opinion.
Still: it’s Magic Johnson, and we are talking about the Lakers. Who else’s word could matter more in this situation?