Magic reportedly ignored coaching staff’s pleas to keep Randle, Lopez

Magic Johnson reportedly ignored the pleas of Luke Walton and staff to retain Julius Randle and Brook Lopez last summer.

While the supporting cast of LeBron James has withered on the vine as this season has progressed, a report states the team’s coaching staff requested that Magic Johnson retain former Lakers Julius Randle and Brook Lopez last summer.

Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, ignored the wants of Luke Walton and his staff, instead opting to bring in journeymen Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley.

Per Bill Oram of The Athletic:

“While (owner Jeanie) Buss has been an ardent backer of Walton, she has also empowered Johnson, who has been less resolute in his support. His efforts have all worked against his coach rather than with him.

“After delivering James in July, Johnson ignored the pleas of the coaching staff that he retain Brook Lopez and Julius Randle. Instead, he signed controversial and limited journeymen JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson.”

While McGee (11.1 points, 6.5 rebounds) has been decent, Stephenson (7.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.8 blocks) has made limited contributions for the 30-36 Lakers and Beasley has been traded, Randle and Lopez are thriving.

Randle is averaging 20 points a game for the New Orleans Pelicans and Lopez is shooting 37 percent from beyond the 3-point arc for the NBA’s best team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

4 Comments on "Magic reportedly ignored coaching staff’s pleas to keep Randle, Lopez"

  1. Thomas Nguyen | March 12, 2019 at 1:00 am |

    Genius Lakers moves all around. They got rid of multiple scorers that they could have used. Zubac, D’Angelo, and Clarkson could all be helping this crap team.

  2. Are you surprised? Magic is a joke as a coach or front office exec. Some guys were only meant to play.

  3. Philip Rusch | March 13, 2019 at 4:09 pm |

    I may not have all the facts yet but it was my understanding releasing Randle had to do with being able to afford to bring in both LeBron James and Paul George as free agents. Randle’s rookie contract was up and he was due for a significant raise. On July 2, the Lakers renounced their free agent exemption rights for Randle. Meanwhile, on July 6, Paul George announces he’s going back to OKC. There wouldn’t be any point in paying James, George, and Randle at the same time. If they resign Randle, there’s no point in signing George, but the Lakers wanted George instead of Randle. At any rate, there’s a lot more to the story than it lets on. Hoping to get Paul George to sign was at the heart in letting those two guys go.

  4. Philip Rusch | March 13, 2019 at 4:21 pm |

    Looks like the Lakers knew George wasn’t coming when they allowed Randle to walk. If that’s the case, it was done with the eye toward the 2019 free agent class.

    The Lakers hoped to meet with the Palmdale, California, native during free agency this past July in hopes of signing him. George, however, quietly made a decision to re-sign with the Thunder before free agency arrived and never met with the Lakers.

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