Magic Johnson steps down as LA Lakers president of basketball operations

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Johnson sent shockwaves through the Lakers franchise Tuesday night when, in a teary-eyed announcement before the team's season finale, he announced his "difficult decision".

"I want to go back to having fun", Johnson said before fighting off tears. Being president of basketball operations comes with restrictions, and the rule against tampering meant Magic couldn't even congratulate Russell Westbrook on becoming the NBA's second 20-20-20 player.

Magic Johnson has stepped down as Lakers' President of Basketball Operations. So I've got to make a decision.

Johnson was in the position for just over two years and, while he helped land LeBron James, it's hard to say he's leaving the organization better off than he found it. Rumors about head coach Luke Walton's future have been swirling for weeks, putting him on the same uncertain footing as numerous young players who found themselves in trade rumors as part of reported packages for Davis.

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Johnson said part of the reason he made the decision was to maintain his relationship with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

"I love the National Basketball Association so much", he said.

Immediately after taking the job, Johnson stated his plan to land at least two free-agent superstars to return the Lakers to immediate title contention. The business mogul and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner sounded relieved while delivering the news, noting that he was going to return to his other interests and wanted to set up the Lakers for what will be a busy summer.

Nothing has gone according to plan for the Lakers this season.

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"Jim [Hill], great interview last night [with LeBron James] I was riding here thinking about that incredible interview you had". They haven't made the playoffs since 2013.

"It's a hard decision", Johnson said, as he began to cry. "I couldn't have even tweeted it out to say, 'Hey, congratulations, man!' If I had done that then everyone would be like, 'Oh, he's tampering!'" He missed the next 17 games and the team never recovered. "I couldn't stand to tell her".

"No anxiety. But call me later tonight and the answer might be different", Walton said. Some of Johnson's other moves have worked out much better, including the Lakers' drafting of Lonzo Ball, the acquisition of Kyle Kuzma and the bargain signing of center JaVale McGee. "She'll have to bring me back".

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