At the end of a disastrous season in which the Los Angeles Lakers failed to make the playoffs, despite having added LeBron James via free agency, Magic Johnson announced Tuesday that he is resigning as the team’s president of basketball operations.
Johnson, who played his entire Hall of Fame career for the Lakers, was put in his current job in February 2017 to replace Jim Buss, the brother of the team’s controlling owner, Jeanie Buss. Johnson, previously a partial owner of the team, brought in Rob Pelinka, a former agent, to serve as his general manager.
“Somebody is going to have to tell my boss (Buss), because I know she’s going to be sick,” Johnson said Tuesday. He later added he would find her at Staples Center to address her in person.
Buss tweeted her reaction at halftime. “Earvin, I loved working side by side with you,” Buss wrote. “You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you.”
At the time of his hiring, Johnson said, “I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players.”
Though Johnson had memorable moments at the helm of the Lakers, the roster he and Pelinka built around James was widely considered inadequate.
With a 104-101 loss at home to the Trail Blazers on Maurice Harkless’ 3-pointer at the buzzer Tuesday, the Lakers finished with a record of 37-45, a sixth consecutive season of missing the playoffs. It is the first losing season for a James-led team since the forward’s rookie season in 2003-04, when his Cavaliers went 35-47.
Hornets 124, Cavaliers 97: Kemba Walker scored 23 points and Charlotte pulled away in the fourth quarter to keep its playoff push going in Cleveland. The Hornets (39-42) had to win to have a chance of beating out Detroit and Miami for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte did its part and now must beat Orlando at home Wednesday and hope the Pistons (40-41) lose in New York.
Pistons 100, Grizzlies 93: Andre Drummond had 20 points and 17 rebounds, helping host Detroit come back from a 22-point deficit and cling to a spot in the playoffs. Detroit can clinch a postseason bid by closing the regular season with a win Wednesday at New York or a Charlotte loss.
Heat 122, 76ers 99: Dwyane Wade scored 30 points in the tribute-filled final home game of his career. The Heat were eliminated from playoff contention when Detroit beat Memphis — a result that went final in the third quarter of the Philly-Miami game.
Other games: Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 30 points and Dallas celebrated the final home game of the 40-year-old’s record 21st season with the same franchise in a 120-109 victory over the Suns. … Donovan Mitchell matched his career high with 46 points as the Jazz beat Denver 118-108 in Salt Lake City. … Paul George hit the game-winning 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left, and the Thunder rallied from 14 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Houston 112-111 in Oklahoma City. … Bradley Beal became the first player in Washington franchise history to average at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists for a season, reaching the numbers he needed in a 116-110 loss to visiting Boston. … Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points and the Raptors closed their regular season with a 120-100 victory over the Timberwolves in Minneapolis. … Dennis Smith Jr. scored 25 points, and New York Knicks escaped the possibility of finishing with its worst-ever record by winning 96-86 in Chicago.
Wall uncertain: Washington point guard John Wall said he is not sure whether he will be able to play next season as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Magic-Johnson-steps-down-as-Lakers-exec-13755258.php.