Magic Johnson accuses Rob Pelinka of being a backstabber
Magic Johnson did not hold back when discussing his sudden resignation in April, and the former president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers has laid the blame for the situation squarely on general manager Rob Pelinka.
Johnson, who abruptly quit in April, made an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” Monday, and more or less accused Pelinka of being a backstabber.
“If you’re going to talk betrayal, it’s only with Rob [Pelinka].”— First Take (@FirstTake) May 20, 2019
—@magicjohnson on the Lakers pic.twitter.com/K0sSLK2rhB
.@magicjohnson explains in full the reason why he stepped down as the Lakers president. pic.twitter.com/oats954tDP— First Take (@FirstTake) May 20, 2019
There were whispers after Johnson’s resignation that he was not putting forth enough effort in his job, and he believes Pelinka was behind the rumors.
“And then I start hearing ‘Magic you’re not working hard enough, Magic is not in the office,’ so people around the Laker office started telling me Rob was saying things,” Johnson said. “Rob Pelinka. And I didn’t like those things being said behind my back, that I wasn’t in the office enough.”
Johnson went on to say that he was warned about Pelinka’s meddling by agents, who allegedly said the GM was gunning for Johnson’s job.
Magic said that he never asked or tried to fire Pelinka. He just wanted to bring in his own coach. He said at that time he hadn’t decided which coach he’d want, but he said that recently he wanted Tyronn Lue because he thought he’d be a great fit.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) May 20, 2019
More Magic on Pelinka:— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) May 20, 2019
“If you want to elevate yourself, I’m all for that… But there’s a way to get that, and it’s not talking about the person that’s above you.”
There obviously was no shortage of bad blood in the Lakers’ front office, and the dysfunction with the organization’s power structure obviously was not conducive for a team set to embark upon what will be an incredibly critical offseason.
While the manner in which Johnson went scorched earth on his onetime righthand man may be somewhat surprising, it’s clear the situation was an untenable one and Johnson saw no other way out of it other than to quit.
Either way, Johnson’s candid remarks are not a good look for a flailing Lakers organization already being the target of mock and ridicule.