This revelation caught everyone by surprise, including head coach Luke Walton, who many believed to be on his way out the door as well. A person familiar with Buss' thinking said Johnson's decision did not guarantee Walton's job was safe.
In a press conference, Johnson told reporters he was exhausted of the "backstabbing" that came with the job, and was annoyed by tampering rules that made it hard for him to communicate with players from other teams.
After failing to pull a deal for a superstar to pair with LeBron James out of his hat during the offseason or before the trade deadline, Magic Johnson abruptly resigned as Lakers president prior to LA's last game of the franchise's sixth straight losing season.
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Magic Johnson's time as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers has come to an end. He later told ESPN's Rachel Nichols that he didn't tell Buss first because he was afraid she would have talked him out of it. Los Angeles has now missed the playoffs for six straight seasons. Johnson did not inform Pelinka or Buss about his decision to resign.
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After retiring and launching several business ventures, he re-joined the team in February 2017, when general manager Mitch Kupchak was sacked and Jim Buss was ousted as executive vice president of basketball operations. 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.
But after James strained his groin at Christmas and subsequently sat out for the longest injury absence of his 16-year National Basketball Association career, the Lakers were unable to compile enough midseason wins to stay in playoff contention.