Magic Johnson wanted the Lakers to chase DeMar DeRozan in the off-season over Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers legend was discussing the formation of this season’s roster on Monday, during his back-to-back appearances on ESPN’s morning shows, “Get Up” and “First Take.”
After praising Lakers top scorer, LeBron James, Johnson said the face of the franchise was to blame for Los Angeles’ DeRozan – who signed Three-year deal worth $82 million Last August by signing and trading with Tottenham.
“The blame he has to take is the fact that DeRozan ended up in Chicago and not with the Lakers. DeRozan wanted to play for the Lakers and when I got a call from his agent, [Aaron Goodwin]I called the Lakers, I said, ‘Hey [DeRozan] He wants to go home, ‘Johnson He said in “Get up”.
“We could have done that deal. But when Russell and LeBron started talking, that was when they called off that deal and went with Westbrook… if you signed DeRozan and you were just trading [Kyle] Kuzma for Buddy Hield, we’re going to play in the Western Conference this year with these two guys.”
DeRozan is a Compton, California native, and attended USC for a year before the Raptors took him ninth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft.
The Lakers acquired Westbrook last summer in hopes of forming the Big 3 with James and Anthony Davis, but their master plan never came to fruition. Injuries kept James and Davis on the sidelines all season, and Westbrook struggled on both ends of the floor for the majority of the season.
“I called [Lakers general manager] rob [Pelinka] He said, “DeRozan wants to come play.” So I got out of the way… I went on vacation and the next thing I heard was that we’re not going to sign with DeRozan but trade with Westbrook,” Johnson said on “First Take” later in the day.
“Buddy Hield’s trade has already been executed and then they back it up. You have DeRozan and Hield, then you can keep it.” [Alex] Caruso and KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope]. These guys are defenders. They are defenders of the ball… We will be competing for the Western Conference Finals.”
Hield was rumored to be heading to the Lakers of the Kings in a deal centered around Tallinn Horton Tucker. Caruso signed a four-year, $37 million deal with the Bulls last August — four days after the Lakers traded Caldwell’s Bob with Washington as part of a deal for Westbrook.
Westbrook is the highest-paid player on the Los Angeles roster, earning $44 million, ahead of LeBron James ($41 million). The best player in the previous league and the Lakers are said to have common interest About finding a new team for him in the summer.
Last November, DeRozan himself said He thought it would be a Laker.
“I felt like going to the Lakers was a done deal and we were going to find out. I was going home,” DeRozan told Yahoo Sports. “The business side of things didn’t work out. There are several things that are incompatible. It didn’t work. It’s just part of the job, and part of the game. My next choice was definitely Chicago. So, looking back, it worked really well.”
The Washington Post previously reported Mark Berman The Knicks was one of the teams DeRozan was most interested in joining before he committed to Chicago.
Johnson expressed his disappointment with the Lakers, who both finished 11th in the Western Conference with four games remaining in the regular season. Westbrook’s failure to find his rhythm within the injury-plagued roster has contributed greatly to the Lakers’ all-season struggles.
Meanwhile, DeRozan is Playing basketball made history in Chicago-Put high numbers in the scoring field.
As of April 3, the Lakers have received 0.7 percent chance of making the NBA playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight forecast. The play cycle begins on April 12 and ends on April 15.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel has been at the center of speculation about his job security amid Los Angeles’ disastrous season.
We can’t just point the finger at Vogel,” Johnson said on Get Up. “Russell, you have to take responsibility and say, ‘I haven’t played well for four or five months. AD, you have to stay healthy…maybe next season, they have to look at you and be like maybe you need to be somewhere else… someone has to be to blame. Someone has to be the downfall man and it’s possible to be Vogel.”
Johnson added that he “feels sorry for LeBron”, due to the kind of season the 37-year-old has had. James is averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists this season.
Last month, James Karl Malone surpassed For second place in the NBA scoring listBehind the Lakers legend Karim Abdul-Jabbar only.
James sat out of Sunday’s 129-118 loss to the Nuggets with a nagging ankle injury. The Lakers play 31-47 with the Suns’ lead in the West in Phoenix Tuesday.
“Student. Incurable problem solver. Amateur baconaholic. Introvert. Infuriatingly humble music fanatic.”