Friday, May 25th, 2012 at 9:40 am  |  44 responses

Magic Johnson Urges Lakers to Pull Trigger on Major Trades

Magic Johnson, being in the unique position of honorary team vice-president and media member, continues to be highly critical of the coaching staff, and applying pressure for the Lakers’ front-office to make drastic roster changes. Per the LA Times: “Jim Buss, brother, you have a job to do,’ Johnson said as an ESPN NBA analyst. ‘I’m telling you right now because if you don’t do it, you’re going to hear from me.’ [...] ‘Those are your tradeable pieces,’ Johnson said of the Lakers’ two big men (Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol). ‘You still build around Kobe [Bryant]. He was still great no matter what his age is. This man showed he’s still dominant as a player. To me, you have to get younger and more athletic. Oklahoma City is young, athletic and fast. The team to beat is the team that knocked you out. That’s Oklahoma City and then the San Antonio Spurs.’ [...] Despite initially arguing the Lakers needed to shore up their speed and athleticism, Johnson found the idea of shopping Gasol and Bynum for other frontline talent pretty tantalizing. ‘Josh Smith is out there. He’s not happy,’ Johnson said. ‘Call Atlanta. You have Gasol sitting there. You don’t know what Dwight Howard wants to do. Give Orlando a call because they would love to have Bynum in return for Howard if he doesn’t want to stay … After you get past Dwight Howard, Bynum and Tim Duncan, that guy, Pau Gasol, is the best big man in basketball,’ Johnson said. ‘Nobody has more skills than Gasol. The problem is you have him sitting on the high post. Yes, Mike Brown’s offense drives me crazy. How can you say this guys’ skills are eroding and he doesn’t have them? No, I’ve seen this man dominate in the playoffs and the regular season. If a team wants a big man, you have to call the Lakers. You have two sitting there that are great.’”

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  • Travis

    hmmm. I feel like Josh Smith would get lost in the limelight in L.A and start jacking up threes every trip down the floor again. Keep Bryant and Bynum and clean house.

  • Heals

    I dunno maybe it’s just me, but all this Laker talk by Magic is getting annoying. He’s with the team, but he’s not, he speaks about personnel, but has no clout or does he? I just find it odd how he’s soooo ready for the Lakers to ditch one of the bigs (2 chips in 3 tries) as if they’ve personally let him down. He talks down every LAL except for one, had the coach fired when no one else did. Easy to make all these moves when your sitting in the ESPN studio…

  • LP

    keep bryant and gasol and clean house…you would get more for Bynum, everybody is in love with his “upside” right now….

  • Mike Mihalow

    Not even Orlando would want Bynum.

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    worry about your baseball team

  • LA Huey

    Magic doesn’t want to ACTUALLY get involved. He’s no different than us keyboard critics. He knows he aint no Bird in the front office.

  • dsgfsd

    seriousyl magic. shut the f up.


    josh smith would camp and shoot threes just like mike brown’s gameplan currently has gasol doing

  • http://Somethingsomething. Ugh

    LA Huey on the money.
    I concur with him, though. They’re keeping Bryant: he has a no-trade clause and his contract is too enormous to amnesty. Trade everyone else for everyone else.

  • j.king

    really the lakers just needs a bench

  • Bruce

    If Kobe can’t win with Bynum and Gasol(who incidentally have complementary skills, as Gasol can move outside and score and he is an excellent and willing passer who gets Bynum more opportunities than Kobe does)
    why would the Lakers do any better with Howard who is not much of a threat to score outside of 7 feet and is not a good ballhandler or passer,not to mention he is not nearly as good from the free throw line as Bynum?
    If you could trade Gasol for Howard(very unlikely) what do you do with Bynum and Howard? On offense,Howard is only effective about 7 feet from the basket,and frankly Bynum has better footwork and moves,more scoring range and can make free throws than Howard. That said,Bynum isn’t real effective 15 feet from the basket. He and Howard are not complementary players. What do you do on defense? You obviously put Howard at the five because he is the best defensive (as well as probably the best overall defender,sorry LeBron,but big guys are more key to a defense than perimeter players)in the league. No way that Bynum can defend the four spot against anyone with an outside shot or average ability to drive it to the rim.
    So,what exactly would the Lakers want for Gasol? Let’s say a pg for the sake of argument. Best available is Derek Williams,but rumor has it he has no interest in the Lakers unless Dwight Howard is a Laker. Best scenario again is Magic trade Howard straight up for Bynum. You then have a staring lineup of pg-Derek Williams,sf(Jordan Hill,he seems to have some potential or Metta World Peace) Howard at center and Derek Williams and Kobe at the guards. A lot of ifs to get there.
    You’ve improved at pg,you’ve traded a great basketball mind and your most flexible and diverse skilled and unselfish player(rebounding,inside and outside shooting and willing and excellent passing big man in Gasol for more athleticism. not a huge gain if it is gain and it might be a minus as Hill’s skills aren’t as flexible as Gasol’s,nor is anyone as unselfish and team oriented as Gasol.
    That leaves Kobe. To me,he is the biggest question mark of all. It is obviously not that Kobe lacks talent,it’s just his reluctance to properly utilize the big men he has been blessed with throughout his career.Part of it might be his desire to emulate Michael Jordan(don’t try to deny it,Kobe obviously tries to copy Michael down to the scowl and competitive looks and scoring). The problem is that Michael had to score
    those 30 points per game to win,no one else on the team made 50% of their shots,Michael was obviously the number one option and rightly so. None of his centers or forwards(bigs) were anywhere near the level of Shaq,Gasol,Bynum and you can throw in Odom for good measure. All except Odom were/are 55-60% with or without Kobe’s “help”. Kobe has never even in his best years had a 47% season(for comparison,Jerry West AVERAGED 47% for his career and scored more points per game than Kobe despite the fact his three point shots were only worth two points and his shooting range made him great from that distance(Kobe is average at best),yet West averaged more ppg than Kobe does for his career.
    Bottom line is that had Kobe not been so bullheaded about being Michael’s clone and modified his game to work with the excellent bigs he played with,there is no limit to the number of titles they should have won. Like it or not,Kobe NEEDS very good bigs to rebound the 55% of the shots he misses(more as he gets older and his skills erode and his ego gets bigger),yet he has to always be criticizing and clashing with them(I guess in hope it will make him(Kobe) look better and to deflect criticism of his many errors caused by holding the ball too long,overdribbling and passing as a last resort.
    In short,Kobe no longer has the luxury of playing with talent that is a lot greater than everyone else in the league. There is no way I can see short of getting LeBron or Durant there is any way he will ever have that advantage again. Even with Williams and Howard in a best case scenario,they will be giving up strengths they already have that may be more important to winning than those guys are. Will Kobe ever realize his excessive ball usage and poor shot selection to the exclusion of more efficient scorers are costing the team a lot of games they can’t afford to lose? If Kobe can’t adjust his game he will never win that 6th title,his 42 point,0 assist games just make him look like a fool or like Pete Maravich or Allen Iverson,not a guy who wants to look like Michael. He has way too many 7 for 25 games or 10 for 30 games. His scoring is not productive scoring when others could do it more efficiently if he turned some of those misses into passes rather than attempting ill advised shots.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=542782613 The White Charles Barkley

    I say this all the time. The Los Angeles Lakers are only going to go as far as Luke Walton takes them.

  • Yc

    Waw thats helluva venting there
    Who’s Derrick Williams?
    And I cannot stop arguing how Bynum has better offensive game than Howard which to me is too damn funny.
    With all of his offensive skills he kept himself with the cave in the series?
    You dismantle deron and Dwight too damn much.. Please watch their game before you make any assumption.
    As for Kobe… Can’t believe I’m saying this but with Bynum bricking and gasol just not being maximized with his skills which I concur with magic what choices did Kobe have? And 0 assist? If his teamtates made some shots surely it won’t be 0. Stop looking at the numbers.
    Everything stems out from the coach. They should fire him and bring in Sloan and trade Bynum.

  • http://bebe310.blogspot.com/ anonymous

    @bruce and here you come with the world`s longest feedback response. who the he** do you think is going to read all of that sh**?

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    I got up to half of Bruce’s comment but my short attention span kicked in which led me to download doodle jump.

  • AiRsMiTh

    @ Heals, yeah, I don’t like listening to him talk about LA everytime he’s on TV (playoffs).

  • http://slamonline.com 19821982

    ^That’s messed up.



    You raise some valid points about the lakers and especially about kobe, maybe it’s mike brown’s job to execute a better game plan which involves more ball movement and feeding the post or maybe kobe needs to learn to share. I get the feeling like most others do that most of the lakers (gasol and bynum) lose their aggressiveness and drive when they aren’t very involved in the play. Unfortunately for kobe, big men don’t exist just to stand in the post, wait for you to miss a tough fadeaway and then rebound the miss.

    Please learn the names of players before you talk about them, there is no player in the nba named DEREK williams and also if you want people to read all of your stuff learn to break up your blocks of text.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    WTH did I just read…
    Jordan Hill at Small Forward…
    Who in the sam hill is this alleged Derek Williams Point Guard?
    What does a Shooting Guard that played 50 years ago have to do with a Shooting Guard today…
    My brain hurts…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Gasol and Bynum for Turkoglu and Howard. Or you are going to have to hope someone is willing to give up something valuable for Gasol.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Why would you trade 2 7Footers for one?

  • Mega

    gasol AND bynum for hedo and dwight? The next big 3 is Kobe, Dwight, and Drew. Everyone is teamin up, u dont think these guys r schemin behind the scenes?

  • http://thahiphopcorner.com Kevin

    Magic need STFU. He should’ve pulled a trade for some condoms back in the day

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/tray-5 T-Ray

    Wtf would you have D12 and Drew on the same team? And that’s funny Kevin lol

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The only way Orlando trades Dwight is if whatever team takes Turk back. I have heard this countless times. And not just in the past, lately.
    What would you value more, trying to build around Kobe, Bynum, and whatever fringe all-star you can get for Pau. Or getting Dwight, and building around him and Kobe?
    Let’s remember, Kobe makes $27.7M this coming season and $30.0M the next. Which is just a hair under 50% of the Salary Cap.
    If LA wants to remain a contender then they will need to have a long term piece to build a championship contender around. If they (or you) think they can compete for a title with Dwight and Kobe for 2 years then you will have the chance to sign a marquee free-agent in the summer of 2014 (since Kobe’s $30M and Turk’s $15M will be off the books). I guess you weigh the risks of each. I personally, always would rather have the best Center in the league than Bynum and what Kyle Lowry…at best. But it’s close.

  • Mick

    Trade Kobe for d will and a shooter

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Can’t, Kobe makes too much money.
    Kobe Bryant is untradeable.
    As crazy as it sounds, the smartest things the Lakers could do (but won’t, and I don’t blame them even a little, nobody should) is Amnesty Kobe Bryant. As blasphemous as that sounds, it would put LA under the cap, and they would still have Bynum and Gasol to build around….but that’s never going to happen. So, we have to talk about realistic scenarios.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    It would LA Riots Part Deux if the Lakers ever traded or amnestied Kobe.

  • JB

    Just because Magic states it, then the Lakers should comply…Really??? We all know that past basketball talent does not always translate to basketball operations. See Michael Jordan and the Bobcats! Magic, stick to analyzing games and running the Dodgers.

  • doronlambbbbb

    Doesn’t Kobe have a no trade clause in his contract, which makes him legally untradeable?????????????

  • http://www.slamonline.com Royal

    It would be sick if Kobe asked to be amnestied, took a year off , and then signed with L.A for the MLE….. would that even be possible or would Darth Stern somehow prevent it?

  • yc

    fire the coach. and trade bynum. not gasol.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    @Royal: If Kobe is amnestied then every other team gets to make an offer of how much of the remaining salary owed him they are willing to take on. The highest bidder would get Kobe and his contract. He would not get a chance to take a year off. Every team would be trying to put in the lowest winning bid. Lakers wouldn’t be able to have him for two years and you really think Kobe wouldn’t be pissed and play for whoever and try and destroy the lakers when they played?

  • Ill Smith

    Sign & trade DWill for Bynum & Sessions (I don’t think Hov takes a Gasol swap), trade Gasol for Pekovic/Derrick Williams/picks & line ya cap room up for Kevin Love in 3 years.

  • Phil da Windmill

    Man the lakers better trade ole weak azz ole sissified Pau Gasol he rather rub Serge ibaka’s nuts instead of playing like a person who wants to win. trade bynum ole i can’t make up my mind if i wanna be in the league face azz the bum gotta go son point blank.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Royal

    AlberBarr: Oh I didn’t know he would be forced to play for any team that bids for him….thanks

  • http://www.slamonline.com keep it real

    D12 + jsmoove + mamba = 3peat. Trade pau to Orlando and bynum to Atlanta. Add lamar odom, derrick Williams, t-MAC. Keep Jordan hill Metta world sessions and ebanks. For god sake cut Steve Blake and fire mike brown.

  • Airnest

    Co-sign Kevin. Best comment!

  • Bruce

    Sorry about the Derek Williams,I meant Deron Williams of course,Derrick Williams exists but he is not a pg nor the answer to the Laker problems.
    I stand by my statement that Bynum is a better offensive player outside of five feet from the basket than Dwight. Bynum has good footwork near the basket and a little farther out. Dwight has dunks or a drive to the basket with a pretty good little hook shot,but is subject to turning the ball over when he does that. Dwight is the focal point of the Magic offense and people pass him the ball. Bynum at 55% to 60% about the same as Dwight, gets half as many shots as Kobe who misses 57% of his this season. Dwight also has some good three point shooters on the perimeter,the Lakers don’t. Bynum makes free throws,Dwight makes about 50% or slightly more. Every free throw for him is a coin toss. That said,Dwight is the better defender for sure. Don’t expect Kobe to give up shots any more for Dwight than he does for Bynum. If you have to give up Gasol for Williams you might get a little better perimeter defense from Hill than from Gasol because of his athleticism,but you are giving up height and rebounding. It definitely takes two seven footers to keep all the missed Kobe shots from turning into fast breaks for opponents if the Lakers don’t get the rebound.
    Sorry about putting Jordan Hill at pf. Obviously if Gasol goes to get Deron Williams,Jordan Hill is the pf and either Barnes or World Peace is the sf.
    What a shooting guard who played fifty years ago has to do with today is this.It demonstrates how much people overrate Kobe on the all time great list. That West could make a higher percentage of shots career average than Kobe makes and score two more points per game with no outstanding big man other than Wilt at the end of his(and West’s career) and get along with all his teammates should tell you something. It also should tell you that West had to compete against the most dominating dynasty ever for titles during pretty much his whole career. He and Baylor had to score a ton of points to even be competitive at that time. It also shows that even at a disadvantage as compared to Kobe with talented bigs he didn’t have a need to force shots.
    The coaching is a valid question. I find it hard to blame Mike Brown with no training camp and little practice time. The fact is that any team with Kobe on it is going to be very difficult to coach whether the coach is Phil Jackson or Mike Brown. Kobe has his own agenda and contrary to what he says and tries to project with the weird grimaces, Kobe’s actual play on the court says he is more interested in surpassing Michael Jordan than he is in winning championships. Or if I’m charitable,Kobe’s confidence in his ability to win championships playing solo and creating dissension with big men far excedes his ability to do so. The years between Shaq and Pau illustrate that fact extremely well. Kobe’s scoring totals were great but the teams never made it out of the first round. Without the big man advantage now,(and even with it) the Lakers are not competitive with the Spurs or Thunder. Giving up two good bigs for Dwight Howard and Deron Williams are not going to do it if Kobe doesn’t change his game enough to utilize his teammates better.
    The ball will probably remain in Kobe’s hands whether Deron Williams is there or not. The question is can Kobe change his game to get the best use from Deron and Dwight or will his goal for the rest of his career be to chase Michael’s ghost and Kareem’s scoring record?

  • http://www.waihak.blogspot.com Tariq

    Lakers Offseason:
    1- Re-sign Jordan Hill.
    2- Sign a FA like Delonte West, Jamal Crawford or Raymond Felton for the mini midlevel.
    3- Trade the Odom 8.9m exception for Tayshaun Prince, Trevor Ariza, Al Harrington or Anderson Varejao.
    4- Try to trade Pau for Deron. If that fails, trade him for a package of 2-3 players (e.g. Scola,Martin,Patterson or Tyreke Evans, Chuck Hayes,etc)
    5- If you get a starting SF with one of the aformentioned moves, amnesty MWP.
    I think that’s the best you can do. Do NOT trade for Dwight. That wouldn’t help your depth and add payroll.

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    Pau is owed 38 millions in the next 2 years, +7% if he is traded, making it around 40 millions. And he will be 32 this summer. I don’t see why any team that is not a contender would take him. Orlando? Brooklyn? Why would they do it??? I could see a trade to the Bulls (Boozer+Korver) 76ers (Iguodala+someone else) Heat (Bosh) or maybe even Dallas.

  • http://www.waihak.blogspot.com Tariq

    A l a n:
    I think Brooklyn might do it because it would be terrible for them if Deron left in free agency for nothing (highly likely) and had to open their new stadium with Gerald Wallace as the main draw. And regardless of how he was misused by the Lakers, he remains an elite post scorer.And that Bulls trade you’re proposing makes zero sense. Boozer has the worst contract in the NBA.

  • pyschoblab

    Gasol together with ash on Heat would Rock! Though i dont think the 2 and most other ppol here wud think it logical to trade for Bosh since hes younger.

  • high off haze

    @Tariq lmaoooo u just made me spit my drink out!! gerald wallace as brooklyn’s main draw lmaoooo that would be hilarious!!