Magic Johnson loves to talk. His desire to tweet freely, without risk of tampering, is one of the reasons he gave for abruptly resigning as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers back in April. But his love of sharing may have hurt the Lakers’ chances of signing Kawhi Leonard.
According to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic, the notoriously private and guarded Leonard was not happy that details of a meeting between him, his uncle Dennis Robertson, and Johnson were leaked to the media, and that may have been one of the reasons why he passed on the Lakers and eventually signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard had reportedly asked every team he was considering during free agency to refrain from leaking any details about anything. From The Athletic:
Magic Johnson, the Lakers legend who abruptly resigned as president of basketball operations in late May and proceeded to torch owner Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka on national television weeks later, thought it wise to broadcast that Robertson had called to pick his brain about the purple-and-gold before free agency had even begun.
“I truly believe that when Magic started telling the media about the meeting he had with Kawhi and Dennis, that sealed the fate of the Lakers,” a person involved in the process told The Athletic. “I think that right there was when Dennis and Kawhi decided we can’t trust the Lakers as an organization. And that was it. I think that was it for them.”
Johnson wasn’t allowed to participate in any of the official Lakers team meetings with Leonard, but he was clearly representing them and recruiting for them during his meeting with Leonard and Robertson. And according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, Johnson freely talked about the meeting.
Johnson says “A friend of mine called and says Kawhi wants to meet with you,” Johnson told ESPN. “I said no problem. I’m available if that’s what this man wants.— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 28, 2019
“But I got a great life. I’m not trying to mess with anybody’s job.”
Johnson talking about it is pretty much the complete polar opposite of what Leonard reportedly wanted. And though we don’t know for sure that Johnson’s overshare is what scuttled a potential deal, it certainly couldn’t have helped. Leonard ended up signing with the Clippers, a team that — according to The Athletic — leaked absolutely nothing about their discussions with Leonard.
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