Magic Johnson once delivered the Lakers NBA championships with no-look passes and timely shots. But the Lakers legend will not be around for the team’s latest quest to return to championship contention.
Johnson, who is a part of an ownership group with the Dodgers, left on Tuesday for a vacation in Europe, according to a source familiar with his itinerary. Although it is currently unclear when Johnson will return, it is safe to say he will not be available for the Lakers’ initial meetings with marquee free agents. The Lakers currently plan to visit Portland center LaMarcus Aldridge tonight at 9:01 p.m. PST and Clippers center DeAndre Jordan on Wednesday. They likely will have even more meetings scheduled this week.
Johnson also vacationed in Italy when the Lakers hosted a meeting last year for New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo. Then, the Lakers brought out a wide cast, including Lakers president Jeanie Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak, executive Jim Buss and senior vice president of business operations Tim Harris. The Lakers also had representatives from Time Warner Cable Access Sports and Anschutz Entertainment Group as well as former Showtime Laker James Worthy. Still, Johnson talked with Anthony on the phone while in Italy.
Johnson has become highly critical of the Lakers’ front office decisions in recent years, squaring most of it at Jim Buss. But Johnson praised the Lakers for selecting Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell with the second pick of the 2015 NBA Draft.
“Laker Nation: Congrats to Mitch Kupchak, Jim and Jeannie Buss on drafting, who I think is a future superstar in D’Angelo Russell!” Johnson recently tweeted.
Johnson sold his 4.5 ownership stake with the Lakers in 2010 and remains an unpaid vice president with the team.