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Los Angeles Lakers team president Magic Johnson is very confident that he could land big-name free agents in the next two seasons that he’s willing to put his job on the line. Johnson said he will step away from his post if he fails to do so.
“Next summer, if nobody comes and I’m still sitting here like this, then it’s a failure. But if you judge us on one summer, that’s ridiculous,” said Johnson. The Hall of Fame point guard asked for two years because he can’t control the decision of some of the big names that could be available in the free agent pool this summer.
Johnson has a reason since LeBron James and Paul George, the Lakers’ top two targets in the off-season, hold player option that they could exercise to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively.
“We don’t know what people are going to decide, and we can’t control that. So if guys decide not to come here, it’s not a failure — we turn to next summer,” Johnson explains. Johnson added that he will step away from the team if he fails on this commitment to the Lakers.
The Lakers have enough salary cap room to accommodate two max superstars, preferably James and George. In addition, the Lakers are also eyeing Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs via trade.
Johnson Not Putting Pressure on Himself
Despite his pronouncement, Johnson clarified that he’s not putting a pressure on himself to deliver and give the Lakers the necessary pieces to compete next season. Last season, the Lakers failed to make it to the playoffs for the fourth straight year despite drafting Lonzo Ball as the number 2 overall pick.
“No pressure on me. I am going to do my job. I have always done that,” Johnson claims. The former Lakers point guard said he will be “same dude” if he fails to deliver on his promise.
Lakers Have Plan B
In case they fail to land a big-name free agent this summer, Johnson said the team will maintain its salary cap flexibility to chase Leonard and Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson next off-season. According to Johnson, this was the strategy that he and general manager Rob Pelinka created.
Once free agency starts, Johnson is ready to travel anywhere to meet with big-name free agents. If things don’t go well as planned, Johnson said they will focus on next summer to beef up their young roster with star players.
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