James is said to still be aligned with team owner Jeanie Buss.
Johnson informed the world—and the Lakers—of his “difficult decision” during a long, impromptu press conference.
LeBron James was stunned to learn of Magic Johnson’s decision to step down as the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations, a source with knowledge of James’ thinking told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on Wednesday.
But despite Johnson’s abrupt resignation, James stands behind Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and the organization, the source told Shelburne.
The team is still assessing Johnson’s decision, but general manager Rob Pelinka will stay in his job, and, if anything, his power will grow, sources told Shelburne.
League sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Johnson and Pelinka visited with James and his agent, Rich Paul, on Saturday. Sources told ESPN that Paul also met Wednesday with Buss, Pelinka and Linda Rambis, who is the Lakers’ manager of special projects.
Johnson offered no indication that he was on the brink of leaving the team, sources said. Johnson said he did not tell James about his decision to leave before making his announcement, either.