Sunday, May 8th, 2011 at 10:24 am  |  85 responses

Magic Johnson: ‘[Jerry Buss is] Going to Have to Blow This Team Up’

by Adam Figman

Assuming the Lakers can’t come back from the 3-0 hole they find themselves in this morning, the team’s management will have some serious decisions to make this summer. Can they keep the entire team intact and compete next season, with the likes of the Thunder, Heat and Bulls improving by the day (and the Celtics and Mavs likely to still be very relevant)?

And if not, what’s the next move? Who goes? Who stays?

Magic Johnson thinks he knows what team owner Jerry Buss needs to do: Blow the whole damn roster up (minus Kobe Bryant) and start over.

His rationale is explained in the L.A. Times:

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 [Magic] 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. In addition to the strong possibility Dallas will eliminate the Lakers, the 2010-11 season will be the last for Coach Phil Jackson. Reserves Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown can exercise player options to stay next season, with Barnes telling The Times’ Mike Bresnahan in March he planned to do that and Brown conceding he’s open to opting out. And of course, the cloud surrounding the league’s expiring collective bargaining agreement on June 30 weighs heavily on all NBA teams.

“The Lakers have two problems,” said Johnson, who sold his 4.5% ownership stake in the Lakers to billionaire season ticket-holder Patrick Soon-Shiong in October but has kept his title as vice president. “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.”

Of course, all of this is assuming the Lakers don’t ride back right into the series and get their comeback on. Which is almost definitely not going to happen, but at this point, you’d really bet against Kobe Bryant?

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai


  • http://Philosophervision@blogspot.com The Philosopher



    I wouldn’t bet against KB8, no matter what. History says that they wont win this series, but can they push it 2 the full 7? No question they can. No need 2 press that big red panic button yet

  • http://www.walshsportsblog.com Kevin

    Magic is a lakers legend but he is wrong on so many levels here.

  • ripslam

    @Hammer: So they’re one game away from summer vacation, and it’s not panic time yet? Tell me when they should be panicking, then.

  • Jer dawg

    The way Magic keeps Talking about the Lakers is really maddening at times. But the truth hurts. Lakers are way down and it’s going to be physically taxing trying to climb out of this series deficit. What was crazy is what he straight out said go get Dwight Howard. Serious?! He’s fueling more fire that will straight out make Dwight Howard crazy. The media asks him dumb questions and if he even leaks out his intentions he will get fined by NBA. Straight collusion by former executive of LAKERS.

  • ripslam

    The man is right. There is way too much going on on that team, what with Bynum injuring himself every five minutes and Lamar Kardashian’s business. They can get some good talent for Bynum. MAKE IT HAPPEN, BUSS

  • Fat Jesus

    so basically, build a big three.


    I’m having a hard time seeing the Magic gift wrap Dwight Howard for the Lakers, even if they are getting back Bynum. Just don’t see it happening. As for CP3, he wants NY, and NY wants CP3, but I wouldn’t put it past the NBA/Stern to trade him to the Lakers with a package built around Bynum.

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Yes Earvin, gotta love how the athletic Mavs are killing your team by “running fast and jumping higher” . Between Kidd, Dirk, Peja, Haywood and Stevenson those athletic Mavs sure are fastbreaking and dunking LA to death.
    Just put the mic down, sir.

  • the truth

    ^True, but LA is making even the mavs look athletic

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Ha ha, Darksaber said it all…

  • namik

    Magic is an all time great but he’s talking like a typical idiot lakers “fan”. Get a real point guard, fish should’ve been on the bench 2 seasons ago. Fortify the bench with youth and athleticism. The lakers have enough wisdom and experience to last them a while. The frontcourt is NOT the problem. Pau just ran into a nightmare matchup with dirk. He’s not fast enough and guarding dirk for 30 minutes a game and getting burned even when you manage to get a hand in his face has to be demoralizing. He’s not Kobe, but somehow I’m ok with that. He’s the only superstar in this L who can put up with kobes petulant BS. Bynum might get hurt or whatever but he wants to win and goes hard. Lamar has played great and everyone makes mistakes. Getting Howard and losing more depth is counter intuitive. The lakers lack depth. Taking on another huge contract with Kobe would sink them further. Its not about making a flashy move but more about making a bunch of sensible ones.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    Changes do need to be made , but blowing the team up seems like too strong of a term….also Mavs fans can brag and goat all they want , they are flat out better than LA right now.

  • ernied

    no secret they want Dwight Howard, but so do Boston and a few other clubs (Chicago, NYK) But he would be big and slow, much like the players he’s complaining about. BTW. Lakers are toast, and it will be sad to see Phil and Doc both step away at the season’s end.


    Billups, Fields, and Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” on Blu-Ray for Kobe. Make it happen Donnie!

  • angus

    if magic give up dwight for ANY combination of players on the lakers excluding bryant, they would be making a tragic mistake, just look how poorly laker bigs have played and how soft they are. dont do it orlando dont do it….

  • karma

    Magic may be a great player, but he’s a mor*on when it comes to being an analyst. You don’t “blow up” a team that’s in the second round – you tweak them. This is clearly a championship caliber team, but they just need some changes to personel. Magic like to seriously talk out of his a*ss, and is VERY reactionary to everything Lakers. Usually, his first instinct is the wrong one. I have absolutely no respect for him as an analyst. Why the fcuk would you blow up a team that’s been to the Finals three times when all you have to do is tweak some players around? The CORE is not the problem (minus Pau). Its guys like Fisher and Artest who are expendable.

  • vjiai

    Phil is gone be gone at the end of the season, maybe a new coach and send artest away with barnes could get them back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    Phil literally made them watch footage of last game along with clips of “Jackass”……I kid you not

  • http://www.twitter.com/bigtymer32 Ndem Nkem

    Dirk is the main reason my lakers are losing hard to stop a superstar when he’s on and magic to a degree is right.they need to change the roster.main reason lakers lose no bench at all.they need some back up big guys and we need a point guard.that’s been our problem for years fisher should be the back up.dwight will not be the answer though he would help.the reason they say trade gasol,odom or bynum is because there our most valuable pieces to get anything back with besides kobe. Lakers are getting older just like celtics are but the difference is they got younger legs on there bench just picked up old vets.its not rebuild time yet for the lakers but we most get a starter bench to maximize the last good years kobe has.then it rebuild time.


    @ripslam. I know this is a few hrs late, but anyways. What I meant was that let’s c how this series turns out and go from there. I just didn’t word it correctly. My bad. Besides, it was Magic saying it, not the Doc. But that’s beside the point

  • Heals

    What is there to blow-up? They got a top-tier C, offensively gifted PF, 6th man of the year who is flexible at SF/PF, an uncanny SG with gas still in the tank. Seems more like they need a tweaking: get a reliable, D-first PG, athletic wing player and more consistent bench…

  • mj23

    as much as i love magics game dont listen to him he is a dumb analist he dindt say nothing about kobe being traded and kobe,kobe is gating older and canot be the leader like he lead 2 last years trade kobe first

  • eZ

    I’ve had this trade in the back of my mind for some time and the sense it makes and the reality of it growing by the day scares me (as i’m not a real modern day lakers fan): Bynum, Gasol, Blake for Howard, Arenas and Bass. Salaries match.
    LA gets a superstar to build on for years to come in Howard -who wants to be iin LA- who plays big D, has good O. Kobe’s days as a player who can carry a franchise are clearly numbered. Arenas can start as PG, his great talent has not just dissapeared, only his selfesteem and some of his athletisism. LA needs a good PG so.. Odom deserves to start at the PF, is versatily enough to complement Howard’s skills and Bass can be a backup PF. Phil leaves and so should the triangle offense. Fisher can be backup PG.
    Orlando can get max value for Howard. A great center in Bynum and allstar PF in Gasol. Blake will have to compete for a backup spot with Duhon. Gasol wil go from nice weather and palm trees to nice weather and palm trees. 5 hrs closer to spain and more importantly will be a great teammate and teamup with promising rookie big man fran vasquez who will be persuaded to enter the nba. With bynum, gasol and vasquez the magic will have a great big men rotation and also the redundancy to weather injuries.
    Bynum has had injuries but so has arenas. A very fair and logical trade for all parties involved.

  • Vince5

    yes and I agree with Magic.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    eZ’s hypothetical trade actually makes a lot of sense. I co-sign that.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Also, I want to see what Bynum can do as the first option on a team. The Magic hopefully won’t be jacking up a billion threes with a front line of Gasol and Bynum.

  • whooo!

    It’s amusing that Kobe has the greatest collection of talent around him in the league – so far ahea of every other team it’s disgusting – and the solution is to blow up the team? Really they should just be shoring up their pg situation, and making Kobe play a lessee offensive role so it goes post players first, Kobe second. It’ll never happen though.

  • Airnest

    Co-sign whooo! Glad somebody else noticed this.

  • http://Facebook.com/wealwayswin Hersey

    The Lakers are trying to win championships every year. This crew has played the equivalent of four seasons in three years. If they have peaked, you reshuffle the deck. They need youth in the backcourt.

  • JTaylor21

    Great player, garbage analyst.

  • Riggs


  • slamfan4life

    D12 for Pau and whoever would be “fair”…..D12 and Kobe on a squad would NOT be……

  • German Reignman

    lose like a champion …. unbelievable the way odom and bynum behave …

  • robb

    I’m ashamed to be a Laker fan right now. You have no idea

  • j4zzm4n

    This is what complacency and indifference get you. Bad time to be a lakers fan but in other news…. Glory Glory Manchester United

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    This is the worst I’ve ever seen the Lakers play, and I’ve been watching them since ’99

  • Yesse

    I agree. Lakers could try to go with the same roster, but that wouldn’t really change anything. Things would still be the same. Jerry Buss sure got his work cut out for him. And by the way, i think Bynum and Odom deserve to be the first ones traded.

  • Eddie

    All those 3′s. How can this be anything but Illuminati??

  • JTaylor21

    No way in hell MJ would have…………

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.l.brewer3 BlackPhantom

    We get it JTaylor, Michael is waaaaaaaaay better than Kobe.

  • http://www.google.com/news BETCATS

    Ben Hurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  • tonyknorr


  • tonyknorr

    Shameful and despicable way 4 a champion 2 bow out


    Shameful and despicable way 4 a champion 2 bow out

  • http://theresastatforthat.blogspot.com deron

    Although I am sad to see the Lakers’ run end, I’m glad Kidd and Nowitzki are getting their shot to win a title. The Lakers were just embarrassing; they showed no heart. And to add injury to insult, Odom and especially Bynum acted like bad losers. A 36-point elimination loss by a defending champ is just unacceptable.


  • Anonymosdef

    Im really curious as to why ANYBODY (especially a franchise with a history of injured stars like the Magic) would even consider trading for an injury prone player like Bynum. I mean I know he has potential and shows flashes but does anyone really think he will stay healthy? I think if he was a number 1 option he would flourish. Maybe (MAYBE) even be DHow’s equal. But that’s IF he stays injury free and he has not shown any reason up to this point in his career to believe he will. I know you dont wanna let Dwight go for nothing but there’s a good chance the Magic end up with just that going after Bynum. Why not send him to Denver for Nene + some of that young talent + some of those draft picks? Seems like a better coup than an aging, unconfident, 4 (Pau or LO) and a glass center. Doubt Dwight would resign but there has to be something better than ANYTHING LA can offer. It’s like everyone assumes D How automatically wants to go to LA because Shaq did and it’s just gonna happen because of how the Pau trade went down. I know he and Shaq have similar personalities and the same nickname but I’ve never heard him personally say he wants to go hollywood and be in movies. Correct me if i’m wrong please.


    6:22 comment was me. My apologies 2 tonyknorr. My, and SLAM’s, bad

  • http://slamonline.com zoom

    Well that was a wonderful way to end the weekend. Watching the Lakers get swept was too beautiful. Sorry Kobe. No sixth ring for you! :-D


    A 36 point closeout facial. Blow it up baby!

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    122-86. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…Eff L.A. well done Dallas!

  • http://Www.fiba.com Darksaber

    In the distinct style of how Slamonline likes to reference Stephen Jackson:
    (nice cheapshots, “champs”. Now fly back home in shame!)
    Hey Matt Barnes; way to punk them Mavs this year!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-ImCpNqbJw IAMORANGE4EVER

    Andrew Bynum needs to get elbowed in the face for what he did to JJ. Real talk.

  • tonyknorr

    no worries hammer those were my thoughts exactly anyways and its slam’s fault they are always messing things up with my posts and many other peoples as well.

  • mike


  • mike

    What a joke Phil and Kobe are right now.

  • mike

    Kobe: “The funny thing is I still think we can win.”
    Reporter: “Kobe, they just won Game 4.”
    Kobe: “I still think we can do it.”

  • http://ZOGS.COM ZOGS




    ^ The Lakers getting swept by Dallas and losing by 36 points today doesn’t make Phil and Kobe a joke man. All the rings they got, they played a huge role in earning. It’s not like they just fell into chips like Robert Horry.

  • http://ZOGS.COM ZOGS


  • http://ZOGS.COM ZOGS


  • robz

    ask mj to return…damn

  • robz

    and play for lakers

  • robz

    oh and scottie to build lakers team

  • George

    I think as a devoted lakers fan, bynum should go. Bynum is inconsistent in his game. In game 3, the bench were doing really good, he created a foul, phil want him out But he refused, instead odom was benched! All the frustrations we can feel it as a fan, how much more with his teamate, spec. when he open his big mouth criticizing his team. Bynum doesn’t earn his salary. His conduct in game 4 is embarassing to the laker ownership, staff, players & laker fans. Karem DID NOT train him like that!!!!!!!

  • http://Slamonline.com Datkid

    I thought magic was going a little far too..maybe not now tho

  • this guy

    Yeah sorry but laker people are on drugs if they think that pau, bynum, and odom(combined) are worth as much as dwight. Please, bynum is glued to the floor, pau is wimpy, odom is alright, but I mean if you look at the numbers I guess you’d think that trade would work, but Dwight is a superstar. Orlando already ruined things by trading vince and rashard away. Basically by himself dwight can make a team good. If the lakers hadn’t won rings, noone would talk about bynum and pau. They’d be average big men.

  • Josh

    Probably one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. This team went to the last three finals and won the last two championships. Are you kidding me? You don’t give this team some credit? This team is still one of the best, we just need to get smarter on defense and have our second best player play like Pau and not Powell.
    Seriously you have no memory whatsoever. Why don’t we revisit all the idiots talking about Boston after they won, they were done right away right? Stupidity.

  • Mvp23100

    Man I’m pissed I didn’t get a chance to WITNESS 24 bow out like a b*tch

  • http://slamonline.com The Ambassador

    LOL did anyone notice that Magic wanted to cry lol his eyes were all watery!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    Being a die hard Lakers fan i was hurt by tha loss, but more for Phil. And magic is trippin. I wouldnt get rid of any of tha starters, or odom, wtf? We need a new bench thou

  • MikeC.

    I don’t think Odom’s hit on Dirk was that bad. Cheap? Yes. Dirty? No. Should have been a flagrant 1, no ejection, no suspension needed. Bynum’s hit on JJ was much worse. At least Odom picked on someone bigger than him. Bynum was the biggest guy in the series and went after the smallest guy. That’s mad weak.

  • Fat Lever

    I bet Kobe wishes he could really place a rookie MJ on the Lakers now, huh?

  • http://www.smartballer.org SMARTBALLER

    There were signs something was ‘off’ with this Lakers team throughout the season. The overly relaxed attitude of some players we saw in the first 82 games carried over to the Playoffs. The Lakers simply got outworked, and outhustled by a hungrier team with a deeper bench. Sad to see..it would have been nice to see Lakers/Heat or another Lakers/Celts showdown as Phil’s swan song.

  • r2j

    If they don’t get Dwight Howard then it’s gonna be a long time before they get another title. Welcome to the NBA L.A. Lakers.

  • http://kb24.com DreXnaW21

    the day Lakers got swept is the day i got my Kobe VI shoes smh… maybe i should return them for an Air Jordan shoe instead?? lol Nike store ftw :P

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Did y’all see the stat that said Magic was swept from the playoffs twice after winning championships? He got some nerve…

  • dma

    Dwight will get traded for weak ass Brook Lopez. The Lakers will be lucky to get an all star back if they traded Bynum

  • http://slamonline.com GlobeTrotter

    would love to see them trade odom, bynum and another bench player or two for howard and arenas….maybe artest can resurrect the soul of agent zero?

  • Waskito

    Kobe is no MJ. Period. Three peat repeat is only for His Airness.

  • KobesBestFriend

    Kobe was the only 1 playing hard out there…MJ wouldn’t have 3-peated with this soft a$s cast of teammates either…its a wonder how these bums made it to 3 straight finals in the 1st place!it just goes to show you how good kobe and phil really are!

  • http://entelleckt.com/ entelleckt

    @KobesBestFriend that’s very debatable unless you’re talking about Wizards MJ or ’94-95 MJ (fresh out of the 1st retirement).

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    The Lakers go ‘all in’ for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to play alongside Kobe????


  • john

    lol at the dude calling dwight slow, you wear a helmet when you go out?

    hey espn and laker turds, we aren’t going to give you dwight for gasoft and odom or old man knees. GET IT IN YOUR HEAD THE NBA DOESNT REVOLVE AROUND YOU BEING GOOD EVERY YEAR. SUCK IT