Turning once again to his favorite punching bag, Magic Johnson blasted owner Jim Buss for his stewardship of the struggling Los Angeles Lakers. Per the LA Times:

“This is what happens when you make the wrong decisions, two coaching wrong decisions, giving Steve Nash that deal, it’s backfired,” Johnson said. “The biggest problem they’re going to have right now … you’ve got to get a guy like Jerry West to be the face of the team. … You’ve got to have someone helping Jim. He’s got to quit trying to prove a point to everybody that he can do it on his own, get his ego out of it, and just say, ‘Let me get someone beside me to help achieve the goals I want.’ “

“You need to get someone like Jerry to be the face, so agents are comfortable, players are comfortable, knowing the Lakers are going for a championship. … Look what Pat Riley did in Miami,” referring to the former Lakers coach who built the current team featuring LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. If Pat Riley’s not there, you don’t get LeBron to buy in.” Johnson said that current Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak is doing a good job. “Mitch is great,” he said, “but he doesn’t have the power.”

Added Johnson: “Everybody’s telling me free agents don’t want to sign [with the Lakers]. … They’re looking at the Lakers now as a team that’s dysfunctional; who’s their leader, who’s the guy?”

“Dr. Buss was smart,” Johnson said. “He said, ‘I’m going to get the best dude, Jerry West, and he helped me achieve my goals. Then I went and got the best coach [Phil Jackson].’ He wanted to work with the best.”