Magic Johnson’s Criticism of the Lakers Has Gone From Constructive to Destructive

Magic Johnson’s Criticism of the Lakers Has Gone From Constructive to Destructive

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Earvin “Magic” Johnson

9100 Wilshire Blvd.#1000W

Beverly Hills, CA 90212

January 29, 2014

Dear Magic:

As a lifelong Lakers fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t make it clear upfront that you were my childhood hero and had more of an influence on me than any non-relative. It is your signed jersey that hangs on my office wall. Much of my life philosophy is built upon what you taught me. That it is better to make others look good than it was to let others make you look good. Perhaps that’s why I’m so confused by how you seem to criticize and disrespect the Lakers organization with every chance you get.

Look, I don’t know the whole story of what may or may not have gone down behind closed doors. I know that you and Jim Buss are the same age and maybe there’s some sibling rivalry that the rest of us don’t know anything about. Perhaps Dr. Buss made you some promises with regards to what your role with the franchise would be after his death that he later reneged on. Who knows? Whatever it is, I don’t know and right now I really don’t care.

What I do know is that you’re kicking the franchise that has treated you like royalty while it’s down. Your constant criticism isn’t deserving of a team that nobody expected to contend for a title, let alone make the playoffs. In doing so, you’ve riled up a large faction of the fanbase by implying that they would be contending for a title if they had either a different coach or a different owner.

Let’s be real here for a second. Numerous injuries have taken an average roster that was much more fun to watch than any of us anticipated and made them remarkably below average and maddeningly frustrating most of the time. These aren’t the Lakers. You and I both know that. These guys are stand-ins. Maybe two or three of them stick around beyond this season but the rest of them? It’s almost as if they dressed up as Lakers for Halloween and have refused to take their costumes off. That’s who Mike D’Antoni is being asked to coach and who you’ve decided to attack.

I’m trying to figure out exactly what your motives are with your criticisms. Do you think it’s helping to put pressure on the organization so they act faster to put forth a better product? Do you think by shining a spotlight on their shortcomings that maybe the Dodgers might somehow benefit? I could understand if you were spewing off during NBA Countdown but you’re no longer getting paid for your basketball opinions.

Magic, I know you must have at least some knowledge of the new collective bargaining agreement and what teams can and cannot do. This isn’t baseball where if a team like the Dodgers has injuries to pitchers making over $10 million a year like Ted Lilly, Josh Beckett, and Chad Billingsley they can just trade a minor leaguer for another high-priced pitcher like Ricky Nolasco.

When this new CBA went into effect in 2010, the Lakers were coming off a season that ended when they were swept by the Dallas Mavericks. They still had seven players under contract for at least two more seasons, making close to $100 million combined. Those were all contracts given out by Dr. Buss. A few of the contracts rewarded the guys who helped the team win two titles, while others were given to free agents who were brought in to help strengthen their title defense.

I need to be careful here and make it clear that I’m not blaming Dr. Buss for the team’s current struggles either. After three straight NBA Finals appearances, nobody can blame him for caring more about what was needed to win at the time than about a potential work stoppage and a new collective bargaining agreement. None of us could have predicted that those title-winning teams would have such a short shelf-life.

The league’s new CBA not only introduced new luxury tax penalties but it also did away with the old mid-level exception that allowed teams over the luxury tax to still sign free agents like Metta World Peace and Steve Blake to four or five-year contracts, with annual salaries in the $5 million range.

Gone was the one card the Lakers could go to every summer, the one that gave them the ability to either cover up a weakness or undo a previous mistake. That World Peace contract made up for the loss of Trevor Ariza. The Lakers probably don’t repeat without it. Steve Blake was brought in to replace Jordan Farmar and provide insurance for the aging Derek Fisher. Unfortunately for him, injuries and coaching changes have made his tenure with the Lakers a bumpy one. Regardless, it’s now gone.

It’s been replaced by a mini version of it that gives high-payroll teams like the Lakers only enough to sign someone like Josh McRoberts or Chris Kaman for only one or two years and around $3 million a year. To make things even more difficult for them, the new rules also made it illegal for those high-spending teams to be on the receiving end of a sign-and-trade deal.

That’s not all.

In addition to dealing with an aging, expensive roster and trying to adapt it to a new system of rules that gives them few assets with which to improve, the Lakers are now paying the price for years of dismissing the draft — another strategy that was around long before Dr. Buss passed away. Over the past five or six years they’ve made a habit of either selling their first-round picks for cash or including them in trades to get teams to take the undesirable contracts of guys like Sasha Vujacic, Derek Fisher, and Luke Walton so they can lessen their luxury tax bill.

While the Lakers current struggles are not because of anything Dr. Buss did, they sure aren’t a result of anything Jim Buss or Mitch Kupchak did either. I can make a very strong argument that no team was hurt more by the new CBA than the Lakers.

If you look at it with a magnifying glass, you might actually be more encouraged than discouraged by what they’ve accomplished with so little to work with. In spite of having traded away nearly all of their first-round picks and having nothing to work with but the mini-MLE, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak still managed to agree in principle to three trades that each of the 29 other GMs in the league would have agreed to at the time they were made.

Despite the fact that the franchise’s hands and feet were tied, they still managed to acquire the best center in the game for a center who is currently out of the league less than two years later. They also acquired a future Hall of Fame point guard for one first-round pick and two second-round picks. You can’t sit there and deny that you didn’t only applaud both moves at the time, but went so far as to publicly predict that Jim Buss would win the NBA’s Executive of the Year Award because of them.

Unfortunately for Lakers fans, the commissioner intervened and blocked the one trade that would have enabled them to remain championship contenders and avoid their current predicament; a trade that not only would have prevented the Steve Nash trade, but would have also enabled them to rid themselves of Pau Gasol’s contract, provide Dwight Howard with the running mate Houston was able to satisfy him with, and gracefully transition the franchise from Kobe to Chris Paul and Dwight Howard.

So when you say things like, “Everybody’s telling me free agents don’t want to sign [with the Lakers],” and “They’re looking at the Lakers now as a team that’s dysfunctional …,” what you’re doing is not only reinforcing that negative perception and worsening an undeserved reputation, but you’re simultaneously making the front office’s job much more difficult when they can finally make moves this summer.

That’s not what family does.

What bothers me most about your comments is the timing of them. With less than six months to go until the Lakers can finally get the handcuffs off and try to rebuild after three miserable seasons under new CBA, you’ve chosen to kick them while still they’re still handcuffed by old contracts and new rules. We’re so close to the house finally going on the market and now is the time you’ve decided to tell prospective buyers that you’re hearing there are termites in the walls and cracks in the foundation? We can do better than that, Earvin.

What exactly do you expect them to do right now, fire a coach who’s had to start Ryan Kelly, Robert Sacre, and Shawne Williams this season due to numerous injuries to better players? Did you expect Jim Buss to step down and cede his title just because you think he should, even though he has no reason to do so? The truth is, none of us know what Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are capable of doing once they finally have legitimate assets with which to rebuild, including you. They have significant cap space for the first time in 18 years and the chance to pick in the single-digits for the first time since drafting James Worthy in 1982.

If you want to express your concerns and frustrations about the team on Twitter or on late-night talk shows, I can’t stop you. I’d also be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous about the team’s future or that I haven’t been tempted to destroy personal objects after some losses this season. I just know that when you speak, people listen and they repeat those things, and oftentimes what you’re saying is just flat-out wrong and misleading.

I’m writing this to you because I never thought I’d see the day where Lakers fans turned on you, but that’s where it seems we’re headed. Not all Lakers fans. There are still many who feel that you are voicing your frustration on their behalf.

Speaking only for myself, my biggest issue is with you undermining the front office at such a critical juncture; including your former teammate Mitch Kupchak. If you don’t have faith in those currently running the team, keep it in-house. Seeing as that you’re no longer involved with the team on a day-to-day basis, you’re doing the entire organization and their fans a disservice by feeding the public perception that there’s dysfunction where none might actually exist. If someone tells you that they’re hearing the organization is dysfunctional, either tell them they’re wrong or tell them you don’t know instead of feeding into it. Maybe you spent too much time around Bill Simmons last season. What did he do to you?

When you combine all that negativity with your new “don’t shoot the messenger-style” rumormongering about free agents and organizational dysfunction, you can understand why your name now elicits a negative reaction amongst many fans when it’s brought up. Don’t be surprised if you hear a few boos or you get heckled the next time they show your face on the Dodger Stadium jumbotron.

I can’t imagine someone who is now part-owner of one local team would trash another team’s owner under the guise of only wanting what’s best for them. Nor can I allow myself to believe that you, the ultimate team player, would maliciously intend to try and bring down the very franchise that helped make you the global icon that you are.

Magic, I’m not asking you for much here. I’m just asking you to think twice about the ramifications of those things you say. The positive things you say about the team usually disappear into the ether within minutes of you saying them. But the criticisms manage to echo and become the subject of newscasts, talking heads shows, newspapers, and social media for days.

Now is not the time for the attacks. Whatever issues you may or may not have with Jim, just sweep them under the rug. At the very least, you owe that to Dr. Buss, to Jeanie, and most importantly, to the fans.

If there was ever a perfect time for one of your legendary assists, right now would be it.

Best regards,

Andrew M. Ungvari

  • daddy

    well said

  • kobe24

    Man, couldn’t have said it any better.

    Seriously though, whats with Magic’s criticism it isn’t helping anyone at all.

  • John Terran

    Well said. But Magic needs to put pressure on Jim to step down. This is what he is trying to do. Jim really doesn’t have inside knowledge of basketball and doesn’t understand all the ramifications. Magic has earned the right to voice his opinion. Anyone with a statue can criticize the organization. I can write a 10 page blog on why Jim needs to step down but I think everyone knows it already.

    • AndrewUngvari

      I don’t need a 10 page explanation. Just use this space to give me three legit reasons why Jim needs to step down. Tell me what you know about his “inside knowledge of basketball” or his understanding of all the ramifications. Ramifications of what exactly?

      • John Terran

        Rudy Tomjanovich
        Mike Brown
        Mike D’antoni

        But let’s give Jim a pass on Tomjanovich since this was his first coaching hire and it was such a disaster that it led Jerry Buss to bring back Phil.

        1. Hired Mike Brown without consulting with Kobe. Clearly it was the wrong move to change system with the roster of Kobe, Pau, Odom, Fish, etc who flurished in the triangle. 3 finals appearances and 2 titles. But let’s scrap it because that is Phil’s systm and Jim wanted to prove everyone wrong that he can do the job. We know how this turned out.

        2. Firing all the scouts, medical staff who were top of their profession. Is it a coincidence that so many players are hurt?

        3. Trading for Steve Nash with 2 first round picks. Going for broke for a 38 year old point guard who can’t defend will most likely will not result in titles.

        4. Hiring Dantoni after flirting with Jackson. If Jim didn’t want to hire Phil, he should not have talk to Phil in such a public way. He thought this would blow over in a few month? He obviously doesn’t know Laker fans. Only way this is forgotten if Dantoni wins a title.

        5. Hiring Dantoni when Dwight Howard, Pau and Kobe was on the roster. These superstars are obviously does not fit Dantoni’s system. Triangle would’ve fit perfectly for them. Dwight would have stayed, and the Lakers would be contending this year. Maybe Kobe doesn’t blow his achilles with Jackson controlling his minutes.

        6. Has Jim played any organized basketball? College? High school? Middle school?

        7. Jim does not use the Lakers Hall of Famers to help recruit free agents. Why not? Who would want to play for Jim? There is a huge difference when Jerry West, Jerry Buss, Phil, Magic, Worthy, etc sitting across from the free agents vs Jim and Mitch. Sorry Mitch. love your work but your name has no clout.

        8. Not keeping Jeanie in the loop. WTF. Chris Paul trade many not have been rescinded if Jim kept Jeanie in the loop.

        I can go on and on…

        • NickOld

          Wow, just wow, where to start. Acutally, I shouldn’t even bother. “Chris Paul trade many not have been rescinded if Jim kept Jeanie in the loop”. Way too far down the rabbit hole dude.

          • Troy

            LMAO…you’re right. That must be one of the great reaches ever. Yeah, like Dan Gilbert, Cuban, and the other small market owners who were bent on taking as much power from teams like the Lakers would’ve gone “well, Jeanie is in on it, so let’s not twist Stern’s hand and lets just let the trade go through”

          • John Terran

            I’m not saying because Jeanie was in, Stern would not have rescinded the trade. You have to know the back story on this. Stern rescinded the trade because all the owners were in the lockout meeting and didn’t have a chance for the CP3 trade. So the trade was not fair to the rest of the league. Gilbert email was just icing on the cake. If Jim kept Jeanie in the loop, Jeanie probably would have told Jim to not to pull the trigger yet due to the circumstances. Who knows what would’ve happen at this point. Maybe NBA doesn’t make history by rescinding a trade if Jim waits a week. Maybe Lakers don’t get the trade if Jim waits a week. But not communicating with the other owner Jeanie is not good business practice.

          • John Terran

            I admit I am reaching, but I’ll explain why in the comment below.

        • Hank

          As for no 3. I’d say 98% of Laker Nation were doing cartwheels with that move. Oh, and everyone’s “White Saint” Phil Jackson was as instrumental in pushing Jerry West out the door in Lakerland.

          • AndrewUngvari

            Great point on Phil and Jerry. I totally forgot about that.

          • John Terran

            So you thought Nash + Brown + Princeton offense was good be good? I think Lakerland was 50/50. People were excited for sure, but better offense would’ve been like the Sloan’s offense with PNR and Post.

          • AndrewUngvari

            Agree. I didn’t think the Princeton was a good idea but I think that was decided on before the Nash trade.

          • John Terran

            Adelman’s offense would’ve worked too I think. Princeton was before but Brown didn’t change it after the trade! WTH..

          • Guest

            Rick Adelman runs the Princeton offense in Minnesota…

        • AndrewUngvari

          Let’s go one-by-one.

          1) When the Lakers hired Mike Brown, not only was Dr. Buss involved but they stole him right out from under Jerry West and the Warriors, who were about to hire him. (If I post links then my comment will be interpreted as spam and get deleted so search Mike Brown and Warriors, if you don’t believe me). Also, it was no secret that Buss hated the triangle. Kobe should have definitely been involved in the process but the league was preparing for a lockout. Bottom line: why didn’t Dr. Buss ask Kobe for his input on the Mike Brown hiring?

          2) Firing all the scouts during the lockout was not a Jim Buss decision either. Not sure where you got that info from.

          3) They traded one first round pick and two seconds for Nash. It would have only been two firsts if the Lakers missed the playoffs last year. They didn’t. The moment Sessions opted out, they knew he’d try to get a multiyear deal because there were no real alternatives. They didn’t think Nash was an option. Nash played in 62 of 66 games and kept the Suns in the playoff race with an awful roster. Did you prefer Sessions to Nash at the time? Is he the defensive stopper you craved? Did you know that the Lakers training staff misdiagnosed Nash’s broken leg last season? Was that also Jim’s fault?

          4) Hall of Famer Mark Heisler, who is as plugged in to the Lakers as any journalist ever, reported on more than one occasion that D’Antoni was a Dr. Buss hire. Jerry didn’t want to give too much power to Jeanie and Phil after his death, and was afraid that it would divid the family. Do you think that last year’s team would have won a title with Phil? Even with the point guard who you blame Jim for trading for?

          5) You had one of the best pick-and-roll point guards ever with one of the best pick-and-roll finishers ever. One was under contract for three years and the other they were hoping to sign for five years. I’m not so sure that the Triangle would have been perfect for that roster. Again, I would have preferred Phil but let’s not pretend that Phil was definitely going to take the job or even stay beyond last season. The fact that he keeps insisting he’s done coaching is further proof of that.

          6) Who cares if he’s played organized basketball or not? Bill Belichick and Bill Walsh never played football.

          7) Do you blame Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant for not recruiting free agents or not trying hard enough to re-sign Dwight Howard? How many of today’s players even know who James Worthy is? And what free agent did you think Jim needed a Hall of Famer to recruit? They had nothing to offer anyone.

          8) I agree that he should have kept Jeanie in the loop. Just like I think Jeanie didn’t need to try make money off of it by mentioning it in her book. That was shameless and low-class. But your notion about the CP3 trade not getting vetoed is absolutely ridiculous.

          Please go and on. The only thing you listed that you were absolutely correct about was keeping Jeanie in the loop and getting Kobe’s opinion on hiring Mike Brown. Sorry but there’s no evidence there to suggest that Jim should step down.

          You’re continuing the popular practice of blaming Jim for everything bad and only giving credit to Dr. Buss and Mitch Kupchak for the things that worked out.

          • John Terran

            1. Which Buss hated the triangle? Brown was a panic hire. They hired him hastily because West was going to hire him. Would he been good for the Warriors? Maybe. For the Lakers? Hard to imagine Brown being successful for the Lakers with the win a title or go home culture. It was Jim’s call and Jerry signed off on it. Like Jim said, “I made a mistake hiring Brown. Can I get Phil’s number?”

            2. Wasn’t Jim head of basketball operations? Who’s decision was it? Who makes the final call?

            3. Was it the same training staff before the lock out? Is Sessions the answer? Of course not. But no Nash means no Dantoni. See the trickle down effect?

            4. Did Jerry not want Phil for his son Jim? I believe that. But who is the head of basketball operations? Could Jim asked Jerry about Dantoni and Jerry agreed? Seems like the most likely scenario. Who said Jerry overrode Jim? Jim? Please.

            5. I am not saying Phil would have won the title. Even Phil said probably not. The roster still had some serious holes. But D12 would have stayed and Lakers would be in the conversation now instead of being close to last place in the Western conference.

            6. Check your facts. Bill Belichick played organized football and his dad was a football coach. So did Bill Wash. You really need to check your facts.

            7. I am saying Jim has no clout whatsoever. He can only use the Lakers brand. That is it. And right now, it may not be enough. D12 showed us that. D12 said he would have stayed in Phil was there. End of story.

            8. Is it ridiculous? Do you even know why Stern vetoed the trade? It wasn’t because it was the Lakers. It was because all the owners were in the lockout meeting and didn’t have a chance on the trade. Am I reaching here? Maybe. But it is not ridiculous.

            Jim bashing is popular because is it is true. Unfortunately Head of Basketball operations gets the glory and the blame. Until he wins, he will get the blame. If Lakers win during Jim’s tenure, no will ever say crap about him. If you don’t know that this is true, you’re living in your own world.

            Do me a favor and check your facts tho.

          • AndrewUngvari

            1) Jerry Buss hated The Triangle and always wanted a return to Showtime-type basketball. The Lakers interviewed four coaches: Brown, Person, Shaw, and Adelman. It wasn’t the best year for available coaches. I wanted Adelman but what’s he done in Minnesota? There was no George Karl or Lionel Hollins.

            2) Jim and Mitch have always stated that coaching hires were made by them and Dr. Buss as a group. The guy who makes the final call is the guy who signs the check — that was Dr. Buss.

            3) The team doctors and Gary Vitti were all the same. I’m going to go out on a limb and say whoever misdiagnosed the injury was probably someone who shouldn’t have misdiagnosed the injury.

            4) Google HoopsHype Mark Heisler “The Way The Lakers Were”. It’s an article from Feb. 18, 2013:

            “The Mike D’Antoni hire, a PR disaster, wasn’t Jim, even if he was blamed all over talk radio. It was his father’s last-minute call not to bring back Jackson again, a fact agreed upon by Laker sources, D’Antoni sources and Jackson sources.”

            5) You don’t know that D12 would have stayed. More on that in number 7.

            6) Neither of them played pro ball. Who cares if Jim didn’t play high school basketball? It’s not like he’s coaching the team. He has a GM who is more than capable.

            7) D12 wanted to win a title. He and Kobe clearly didn’t get along. He didn’t come back because he thought the Rockets were closer to winning a title. You can’t complain about Nash and tell me that the Lakers would be closer to a championship than Houston right now if Phil was the coach. You say that Jim has no clout. Does Kobe have clout? He was in that meeting. Why are you only blaming Jim?

            8) Stern vetoed the trade because he was acting as owner of the Hornets, not as NBA commissioner. The team was owned by the other 29 owners and he didn’t think the Lakers offer would do enough to increase the sale price of the Hornets. (it’s the subject of my next article). He was acting on behalf of them. And he was right. The Clippers offer was better. If they couldn’t find a better offer then CP3 would be a Laker. It’s not Stern’s fault they wasted a pick on Austin Rivers. Two of the other guys they got, Al-Farouq Aminu and Eric Gordon, are starters. If they hadn’t screwed up on Rivers, they might have traded for 60% of their staring lineup. You don’t think that’s better than Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, and Kevin Martin? Where would that team be today?

            What fact do I need to check? How many Pop Warner games Bill Belichick played? My bad. I’m just asking you to give Jim a shot. The Lakers aren’t struggling right now because of Jim Buss. If you refuse to believe that then there’s nothing I can do to change your mind. I spent 2,000 words telling you why the team isn’t good right now. You tried telling me that Chris Paul might be a Laker if Jeanie Buss was in charge. LOL.

          • John Terran

            I said organized ball, not pro ball. There are so many coaches that never played pro due to physical limitations. Many coaches go straight to coaching after college (sometimes high school). You obviously don’t follow football much. If you don’t think Jim Walsh played college ball. you are living in your own dream world. CHECK YOUR FACTS

            When Stern vetoed the trade, Clippers offer was not there yet, if you didn’t know.

            Like I said, you can believe what you want to believe. In Jim you trust. That is fine. You are entitled to your opinion.

          • AndrewUngvari

            Who’s Jim Walsh? You mean the dad on Beverly Hills, 90210?

          • John Terran

            Typo late night. Bill Walsh. Still, he did play college ball.

          • John Terran

            I wasn’t going to respond but what the hell.

            1. I wanted Shaw to continue the system since they have been so successful. The year Lakers got swept by the Mavs was mostly due to Kobe being on one leg. Knee and ankle. Pau didn’t step up when Kobe was hurt but that is a different conversation

            2. All three are involved but who is the head of basketball operations?

            3. Vitti is still here but who else? It’s not all Vitti right?

            4. A lot sources said Phil wanted the moon and back which wasn’t true. Wanted partial ownership, no travel, etc, etc. Hard to put sources above logic, don’t u think?

            5. D12 said he would have stayed if Phil was there! D12 said it himself! Not from sources! Even with Kobe.

            6. Mitch is capable. But Jim is the head of basketball operations not Mitch. My point is Jim needs be an owner and not be the head of basketball ops. Jerry was never the head of basketball operations. He just made the final the call on big decisions in which he had the instincts for. Jerry was the sports fanatic and experience owning sports franchises.

            7. D12 said he would have come back if Phil was there. Not from sources. Why blame Jim? Have you been paying attention? Because he hired Dantoni over Phil when D12 asked for Phil !!

            8. Already addressed this

            Obviously we both are pretty passionate about the Lakers. You like Jim. I think Jim will bring Lakers to mediocrity at best. Let’s see who is right in the next few years.

          • AndrewUngvari

            Send me a link that shows that Dwight said he would have re-signed if Phil was the coach. You’re welcome to search Bloomberg for Charlie Rose’s interview with Phil where he states around the 16-minute mark that he wouldn’t have come back last year due to physical limitations anyway.

            Stop telling me that Jim is the head of basketball operations. Titles are meaningless. I’m not saying that I like Jim but I’m impressed by what he’s done despite limited assets and I’m at least willing to give him a chance under fair circumstances.

            And I know that the Clippers hadn’t made their offer yet. The Lakers were given the chance to improve their offer and come up with a pick or two. They gave up and the Clippers swooped in and gave them what they wanted.

          • John Terran

            It was the Stephen A Smith interview on ESPN that D12 said he would stay with Jackson. And Stephen A also reiterated this.

            Lakers could not improve their offer. You really think Lakers would not have given a few picks for CP3?

            You are impressed with Jim? Mike Brown hire? Dantoni hire (Phil hiring debacle included)? His 95% guarantee that D12 will stay? Not taking any responsibility when something goes wrong and hides behind his Dad? How he dismissed his long time employees without even a word or severance? His communication skills? Being available to the fans?

          • AndrewUngvari

            You’re wrong. Go back and watch the interview again. SAS asked Dwight if he requested Phil after Mike Brown was fired and he said yes. There’s a huge difference between that and saying he would have stayed if Phil was there. Dwight also said he wanted an offense that was based around given him the ball in the post.

            This wasn’t about the Lakers not having “a few picks” to offer for CP3. It was the quality of those picks, John. The Clippers had an unprotected Minnesota pick in the next year’s draft and the Timberwolves were coming off of a 17-65 season where they had the No. 4 overall pick. How good was the Lakers pick going to be after they traded for Chris Paul? The Minnesota pick ended up being 10th overall. Besides Eric Gordon, that was the best asset that came in the trade package. Because teams can’t trade first-round picks in back-to-back seasons, the Lakers would have had to give them their 2012 pick and at the earliest their 2014 pick. How is that better than what the Clippers gave them? A pick in the mid-to-late 20s and another pick, likely in the mid-to-late 20s, that they would have had to wait three years for?

            I wrote in the letter to Magic that Jim has nobody to blame for fans finding him responsible for every wrong decision but himself. Let’s not pretend his dad sat in front of Staples Center and did meet-and-greets before games. When was Dr. Buss ever available to the fans? When he went to Hollywood Park Casino? He did one interview for the LA Times per year.

            Dr. Buss was still alive when those 20 employees who were let go before the lockout. Even if Jim had made that decision, what prevented Dr. Buss from stopping him? He was still the owner of the team.

            What I said was that I was impressed by how Jim and Mitch were able to make moves to try to improve the roster despite incredibly limited flexibility. There isn’t anyone that didn’t like the Nash, Dwight, or CP3 trades when they found out about them. If they didn’t work out, they didn’t work out. Dr. Buss got to where he got because of risks and knowing when to make a bold move.

            The alternative would have been at least a 3-year commitment to Ramon Sessions and a lost season from Andrew Bynum before they would have had to make a decision on extending him. Had Sessions not opted out then LA probably wouldn’t have made the Nash trade. His agent tried to pull one over on the Lakers because he thought they were painted into a corner and had no alternatives. He opted out of a $4.5 million deal and ended up with a 2-year/$10 million deal from Charlotte. Bynum got a non-guaranteed 2-year/$24 million from Cleveland that didn’t work out too well.

            Are you willing to give Jim credit for anything? Not even drafting Bynum?

          • Wrong

            Agree with everything but you are so wrong about the CP3 trade on so many fronts. Stern is the commish….he reps ALL the teams, not just one….major conflicts of interest. Should have assigned a third party to be in charge and been hands off until the sale.

            Also, you kind of forgot Goran…so yeah, Goran, Lamar, Kevin Martin and Scola are worlds better than Aminou and an oft injured Gordon (unlike the surprise metldown of reigning 6th man of the year Ododm, Gordon had a well known history of injury). Thats the funny thing about it all…the Lakers trade was actually better for them in the long run….Goran and highly tradable pieces.

          • AndrewUngvari

            I’m not sure what you misunderstood about what I wrote about Stern. I completely agree with you there was a major conflict of interest there. But that should have been addressed long before the trade.

            He did assign a third party to be in charge, a man named Jac Sperling was chosen to be the team’s Governor. But that wasn’t going to prevent the other 29 owners from being able to intervene on something that would affect that value of the franchise. The team ultimately sold for $338 million.

            You’re absolutely right that I forgot Goran. What you don’t seem to understand was that the value of the franchise wasn’t going to be determined by how good the roster was. Not unless you have someone like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant on it.

            Martin had two years and $24 million left on his deal, Scola had four years and about $40 million left, Odom had one guaranteed year for $8.9 million and a team option for a second at $8.2 million, Dragic was in the last year of a deal making about $2 million and ended up getting a 3-year/$22.5 million deal in free agency.

            Leaving off Dragic’s free agent deal and Odom’s option year, the new owner would be responsible for assuming $75 million in contracts for three guys who’s best days were clearly behind them and another who would have to be re-signed the following summer.

            Vivek Ranadive bought the Kings for $550 million in the middle of a season in which they won 28 games. Giving the Hornets new owners the Timberwolves pick (via the Clippers), two players still on rookie deals (including one that was on Team USA), only one big expiring contract (Kaman), and the chance to bottom out and get the number one pick.

            That doesn’t include the significant cap space that allowed them to trade Gustavo Ayon in a sign-and-trade for Ryan Anderson, sign Tyreke Evans, and absorb Jrue Holiday’s 4-year/$41 million contract for Nerlens Noel and a first-round pick that’s top-5 protected thru 2019.

            If you don’t think that’s a better business deal, not a better basketball deal, than you should ask the most successful businessman you know which package he would choose, the one with the huge salary commitments that at best was an 8th-seed or the chance to start over with young players, high draft picks (including a 20-year-old Olympian!), and almost zero long-term financial commitments?

            Take the purple and gold glasses off for a second and analyze it.

        • SoCalGal

          I just don’t even know what to say to this, so I’ll just shake my head and walk away.

      • John Terran

        And do you think Magic would go this extreme if he didn’t think it was necessary? Magic has more love for the Lakers than anyone on the planet. He bled purple and gold and always will bleed purple and gold. Magic definitely has better understanding of basketball decisions and Lakers internals better than fans. Just because you don’t understand what he is trying to do does not mean other fans are on the same page as you. You have the right to your own opinion and so does Magic. Period. And Magic has to right to better the franchise even if some fans don’t understand his method.

        • AndrewUngvari

          Did you read anything I wrote? I repeatedly mentioned that he has the right to his own opinion and that I was unsure of his motives. I also mentioned that there were Lakers fans who felt he was speaking on their behalf. I took issue with him spreading rumors of things he’d heard. That’s unfair to do the franchise. He owes it to them not to make things worse in their rebuilding efforts by using words like dysfunctional — even if they’re true. Does Magic not owe the franchise anything? Did they not support him in everything he’s ever tried to do?

    • Jim213

      Agree with you there… Magic has the right (aside of freedom of speech) to criticize FO given he expects a better product on the floor. He’s been involved in some of the franchises most memorable moments and has done more than enough for the brand and city to put in his two cents.

      This is business and FO hasn’t been making good decisions as of late which adds more doubt to them being able to fix things in a short time span.

  • Unhappy Lakers Fan

    Mr. Andrew Ungvari is entitled to his opinion on what Magic said. But last time I checked Magic Johnson is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. He is the sole reason why Showtime was invented because he made other players around him better. Magic has 5 championship rings,12 time all star,ranks in all time assist category & I can keep going on and on. The man has a statue outside the Staples center for a reason. Magic is a winner & knows that losing isn’t acceptable at all for our storied franchise. Like Magic said watching these Lakers play is awful & so predictable. We have a horrible coach who doesn’t coach defense & cannot make in game adjustments vs the opposing teams. Hence that is why he was unemployed before the Lakers hired him over Phil Jackson. Phil Jackson even with this garbage team we are currently playing would have us playing harder & I guarantee a better record then Mike D’Antoni. Magic is voicing the opinion of the fans like myself that is completely dissatisfied with the way are team is accepting mediocrity & the way we are playing. Sometimes you got to be straight up & honest. The truth hurts Andrew, but it is what is needed for this team. Something has to happen at the end of this season. Hopefully that change is coming.

    • AndrewUngvari

      I don’t know how much more clear I could have made it when I said that Magic is entitled to his opinion and I can’t stop him from sharing it. You don’t need to tell me what Magic has accomplished. That wasn’t my point. Above everything, my main point was that Magic isn’t helping the team by calling the front office dysfunctional. If you think those comments will actually help this team in free agency then I don’t know what to tell you. This team doesn’t play defense because the players suck. The players suck because they couldn’t offer free agents more than the minimum. That’s not on the coach. Nobody is asking you accept mediocrity. You’re being asked to be patient. Take the Lakers current roster and put it next to the top-10 teams in the Western Conference standings. Maybe then you’ll realize that no coach could win with this roster, Kobe or no Kobe.

      • badfuthamucka

        The front office is incredibly dysfunctional, and I am glad to see Magic Johnson say something. With all things considered they gave Kobe a 24 million dollar a year extension this year (highest per year salary in this new CBA).

        That idiotic move pushed the timeline back for a competitive team 2 full years beyond this lost year. 37 year old Kobe doesn’t deserve to make 42% of the cap. Asking for patience with a front office that makes a boneheaded move like that is ridiculous.

        • AndrewUngvari

          Lakers TV ratings are down 37.5% compared to last season. Time Warner is paying them $3 billion for those TV rights. TNT and ESPN already dropped nationally televised Kobe-less Lakers games this season. You can call it idiotic all you want but if he left for another team, how much further would those ratings drop? That’s a serious question. I want to know what you think.

          • badfuthamucka

            I do not think that Time Warner, TNT, and ESPN want to televise a losing Lakers team with Kobe either. Why would they fill a prime time national slot with a 30-52 team that features an aging superstar that is only a shell of what he once was?

            If he turns back into a superstar that can carry the Lakers to 50 win seasons, then yeah, great contract. That player is realistically gone though. If they let Kobe hit free agency, do you think ANY other team in the league would have even given him HALF of what the Lakers did? I don’t think so.

            They could have given him 12 mil per year and hoped for two of the following to sign a max deal to pair with him: Love, Westbrook, Melo, Kyrie, etc… Now, they get one of those players at most, and that is not a championship team.

          • AndrewUngvari

            You still don’t get it. The Lakers were a 45-37 team last year that lost Dwight Howard and didn’t know when Kobe was coming back from an Achilles injury and they were still picked by ABC, ESPN and TNT for 29 nationally televised games. That’s two more than the Heat, buddy. Without Kobe, are the Lakers still playing on Christmas Day, the league’s marquee showcase? Do you know how many games the Celtics will have on ESPN this year? Three. Yes. Three! Do you know how many on TNT? Zero. None. Zip. Zilch.

            That’s what happens when you lose star power and name recognition. You lose national relevancy. That’s what the Lakers are trying to avoid. Who cares if Kobe isn’t the player he once was. He’s still Kobe. There’s always the chance he summons something magical and turns in a performance that’s talked about for years.

            If they let Kobe hit free agency, with 15 teams having significant cap space, you’re right, nobody would offer him close to $24 million. But there’s a very good chance that one of them offers him enough money, say $12 million, to at least turn down the Lakers for a more realistic chance at a title. Especially if they end up going 25-57. And if he leaves, then what happens? They’re suddenly the Celtics getting 3 nationally televised games a year. Then what? As long as Kobe is on the Lakers, people are watching and the team is relevant.

            Time Warner isn’t paying them $3 billion to broadcast Robert Sacre, Jodie Meeks, and Ryan Kelly games.

            They gave him a two-year deal. What are you talking about mentioning Love, Westbrook, Melo, and Kyrie? Only one of those guys is a free agent this summer: Melo. I don’t think he’s going anywhere but if he did, the Lakers could still afford him. Love has another year after this and Westbrook has two more. That means that Westbrook and Kobe are free agents at the same time. So Kobe’s contract makes it almost impossible for them to sign both Melo and Love — as if that was ever going to happen. The Knicks have Bargnani, Chandler, and Amar’e under contract for only one more year. If Melo wanted to wait a year to team up with Kevin Love, he could do it in New York for a lot more money.

            As for Kyrie, people need to learn something about the NBA. Nobody on a rookie contract, especially someone drafted first overall, is going to turn down a massive extension and take the qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent. Nate Robinson might have been the only whoever did it and that was because the Knicks lowballed him and no other team made him a good enough offer. Even Josh Childress went to Greece rather than accept the QO. Teams can offer extensions to guys on their rookie deals one year earlier than those guys can become free agents — and for a lot more money.

            If Kyrie wasn’t going to re-sign with Cleveland, the Cavs would trade him to someone he would re-sign with so they’re not left empty-handed like they were with LeBron. The Lakers don’t have anything that Cleveland wants so forget about Kyrie until the Lakers have anything of value to send back to Cleveland. When James Harden turned down OKC’s offer, they traded him to a team willing to give him the max and got Kevin Martin, Tyler Lamb, and two first-round picks for him.

            That’s the way the NBA works with guys on rookie deals. Before this current season John Wall and Paul George both signed extensions. If they hit free agency this summer, they would have been restricted anyway and Washington and Indiana would have matched any deal either signed. That happened when New Orleans matched the offer sheet that Phoenix gave Eric Gordon in 2012.

            You really need to separate the business of basketball from the game. The Kobe extension was all about business. I didn’t love it either. You don’t have to agree with it, you just need to understand it.

    • Nick The Quick

      No one is denying what Magic has done for the franchise, but his greatness and things that he’s done as a player doesn’t give him a pass to bash on a team and family that helped him become the individual he is today. Without the Lakers and Dr. Buss’ image of making the lakers entertainment, there would be no MAGIC in Earvin Johnson, there would be no concept of showtime, and he wouldn’t be relevant. He would probably be another Kenny the Jet or Charles Barkley who have to sit behind a TNT table and make T-Mobile commercials.

      Yes we as fans are frustrated with the losing, but please tell me the positives that Magic’s comments will bring to the lakers now and in the future. He’s basically pouring salt on an open wound and thinks that purchasing more salt and pouring more salt will heal the wounds.

      Think of it this way. You think you would get hired for a new job if your previous boss bad mouth you to every potential company you try to work for? Probably not! Every company will take the recommendations your boss gives and turn you away. So something goes for the Lakers. How can they attack the players they need and want to turn the franchise around, when someone like Magic deters all potential stars.

  • Devon Samuels²⁴

    That’s spoken from a true Lakers fan mad props to him someone that understands & best part without dissing or making funny smart comments about Lakers! L4L!!!

    • AndrewUngvari

      Thank you, Devon. We all want to see the roster improve as soon as possible. But sometimes we gotta be patient and let those in charge do their job. Magic needs to understand that.

  • Rod

    The best thing the Lakers Organization can do right now, is to stay level headed and stick to what plan they have. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have a plan. The realistic Laker fans understand what’s going on, and that is this will be a 2 maybe even 3 year rebuild that will require patience, wise decisions, and some luck particularly with the coming lottery/draft. The days of reloading on the fly are over thanks to the new CBA and the AAU mindset of today’s superstars. If the Lakers aren’t comfortable with whatever FA they can get this Summer, then don’t be pressured to make a move just to make a move just to satisfy the segment of the fanbase that has gone delusional: You know, those guys that go around talk radio and sites like this with their Phil-colored glasses, pitchfork in one hand, and torch in another, and going around saying “WHY IS KYRIE/LOVE/BLEDSOE NOT A LAKER YET!!! WHY’S IT TAKING SO LONG?!? WHY AREN’T THEY AT LEBRONS FRONT DOOR RIGHT NOW?!” and other grand delusions. After all the franchise has given us, I don’t think a few down years is too much to ask but clearly it is from a good chunk of the fanbase

    • Nick the Quick

      No one is denying what Magic has done for the franchise, but his greatness and things that he’s done as a player doesn’t give him a pass to bash on a team and family that helped him become the individual he is today. Without the Lakers and Dr. Buss’ image of making the lakers entertainment, there would be no MAGIC in Earvin Johnson, there would be no concept of showtime, and he wouldn’t be relevant. He would probably be another Kenny the Jet or Charles Barkley who have to sit behind a TNT table and make T-Mobile commercials.

      Yes we as fans are frustrated with the losing, but please tell me the positives that Magic’s comments will bring to the lakers now and in the future. He’s basically pouring salt on an open wound and thinks that purchasing more salt and pouring more salt will heal the wounds.

      Think of it this way. You think you would get hired for a new job if your previous boss bad mouth you to every potential company you try to work for? Probably not! Every company will take the recommendations your boss gives and turn you away. So something goes for the Lakers. How can they attack the players they need and want to turn the franchise around, when someone like Magic deters all potential stars.

      • Nick the Quick

        wrong comment replied to. sorry!

  • DPMDA16-30


  • NickOld

    Great letter, I seriously hope Magic reads it.

    • AndrewUngvari

      Appreciate it. I also appreciate the discussion. We’re all in this together. I’m just saying that Jim deserves a fair shot and Magic needs to support him instead of undermining him.

      • NickOld

        Wow man, I think Magic actually did read your letter. Great job man, we got a great Laker back on the boat.

  • Fozzy Chicas


  • AD

    R u kidding me….this idiot will question arguably the greater player ever? Listen you idiot Magic criticizes Lakers because they deserve to be ripped. Jim buss is a disgrace of a son to a great father…he is destroying the greatest franchise in sports…..Magic cares and that is why he is hard on lakers….dear moron Andrew ungravi – do you think that fact that your rich ass can afford laker season tix since 89 somehow qualifies you to question magic?!?!
    Jim buss passed on PJ then screwed over his own sister( who btw should be running lakers) then hired idiot Dantoni and begged on his knees for DH12 to stay when not a single Laker or any laker fan wanted that useless center in LA
    Try to understand the game before you write your dumbass open letter..moron

    • AndrewUngvari

      I’m not questioning Magic’s criticisms. I’m questioning his motives. If you really think that calling the team dysfunctional will help in free agency then there’s nothing I can teach you that you aren’t too stubborn to comprehend. I love the Lakers. I would prefer they win too. But I’m realistic as well. And it’s Ungvari, not Ungravi.

      • AD

        Look I am sorry for misspelling your name..but I have a hard time believing that you watched lakers for this many years and did not understand that magic’s motive is simple…he said vey clearly that Jim buss needs to get help from someone who knows the game….magic said that Jim is trying to prove that he can Do it himself and he does not even let Mitch make a single decision..because his delusional and believes that he can recreate show time by himself…dr.buss did not create show time himself, he brought people that understood the game and then listened. So to answer your question what his motive in calling lakers dysfunctional is simple he is sending a very public message to Jim buss that he needs to wake up and smell reality. It is that simple.
        As for free agency…trust me no self respecting star will come and play for Dantoni…so magic saying what he thinks does not affect free agency…and I am not stubborn..I am passionate fan of my team since I was 5 years old.

        • AndrewUngvari

          But how does going public with those statements help the team? Saying that free agents don’t want to sign with the team does not help free agents sign with the team. Why is that so hard for you to comprehend? There’s a way to do what he’s doing without messing up the team’s plans. He’s not helping. D’Antoni’s not going anywhere for at least another year.

    • Steve

      Well said brother!

  • TTeeee

    Majic keep talking shit to all of them maybe we can start winning ! I love the lakers . We’re fucken champions and we’re looking like losers ! Seriously ? Fuck all these niggas that accept loosing I want rings for the mamba! And they need to start coming ! So fuck everyone and there letters !

    • AndrewUngvari

      I’m just shocked that you spelled ‘seriously’ and ‘accept’ right.

      • ChrisHubbard

        But didn’t get “losing” right….must feel really awkward to be “loosing” so much.

        • AndrewUngvari

          Or ‘Magic’.

    • LAL918

      You’re an idiot, TTeeee. Winning rings for Kobe is impossible under this CBA.

  • Van Chandler

    THANK you!!!

  • Matt Griffin

    Looks like he read the letter. There have been 3 straight posts on Facebook directed at LakerNation. What he is saying is good. Just have to see if he follows through.

    • Ayton Atias

      You the man Drew!

  • Stfu

    Don’t let this idiot post anymore.

    • AndrewUngvari

      Thanks for the support.

  • Steve

    This long ass letter doesn’t represent the Laker Nation at all. At least not myself and I’m one hardcore purple and gold bleeding fan. Why you gotta post this crap man??? Making it seem like we’re a bunch of winers and babies about this whole situation. It’s a jacked up season! And Magic is voicing his opinion as a fan.

    Blah! Blah! Blah! I’m with Magic 100%. He tells it how it is, even though the truth hurts. Dude, just leave Magic Johnson alone man. See what you’ve done??? He’s posting all kinds of contradicting fake crap now. He speaks from the heart, so let him be…

    Actually it’s this horrible letter that won’t help and benefit the Lakers either.

    PURPLE & GOLD 4 LIFE!!!!!

    • AndrewUngvari


  • Guest

    And now he says he vows to “stop complaining” about the Lakers because he loves the Lakers. Does anybody remember what happened when he tried to coach the Lakers?

    • Sylvia Ross

      Magic, only accepted the job as a favor to Dr. Buss. He really didn’t want the job. #32 ALL DAY. Love you Magic.

  • WestUp_R_VestUp, 713!


  • Mark Rigney

    He hit the nail on the head. Couldn’t have said it better.

  • George Cazares

    i have to agree with Andrew M. Ungvari. Sometimes what may seem as constructive criticism turns out to be a way to disguise a malicious suppressed opinion. Where is the sensitive Earvin of yester year, that thought us about the dangerous of HIV? What Happen to the man that miraculously came back to the NBA and captured our hearts with An all star game for the ages? with that said, i hope that you succeed in your comfortable front office job with the dodgers. Because, if it does not work out.. You will be under the criticism radar like Mitch Kupchiak.

  • AndrewU-Sucks

    Well it appears Magic read your 10 page novel aka rant. Congratulations Andrew Ungvari now we won’t be able to hear one of the greatest players voice his opinion on our Lakers team. Magic is calling it like he sees it. You have no right to question Magic’s motives or question what he says. This team freaking sucks, regardless of if Magic said something or not. Remember Magic bleeds purple and gold & hates to see the Lakers lose the way we keep losing. We are one of the worst teams in the league. If Dr. Buss was alive, he would be appalled by how bad we are playing. His son Jim Buss Jr is the sole reason why this team is so dysfunctional. His horrible decisions has had an domino effect of bad repercussions. Even his sister Jeannie Buss has questioned her brother leadership. Buss Jr needs to take his ego out of this & stop thinking he can do it on his own because he can’t. He needs help just like Magic said. So just because your rich enough to afford your courtside seats does not give you a right to question Magic Johnson’s motives or whatever says. You asking LA to even boo Magic Johnson is the most ridiculous thing to say & just shows you have not clue what you are talking about. You’re an idiot and should keep your 10 page rants to yourself in the future.

    • LAL918

      Sure Magic has the right to complain but what Ungvari says is that there’s probably a small chance that Magic himself probably doesn’t know about the CBA & shit like that, or how this new rule prevents the Lakers or any other big market team to reload like they always do.

      • John Terran

        Magic’s mostly complaining about Jim and his coaching hires. Nothing to do with CBA.

        • LAL918

          True, but he doesn’t know about how bad this CBA fucked up the Lakers.

          • John Terran

            Magic is a really smart dude. I’m sure he is aware.

          • LAL918

            It’ll be a while before the Lakers get back to contention, even with a breakdown Kobe.

    • John Terran

      I disagreed with Andrew’s post but just like Magic, Andrew is entitled to his opinion. Its unfortunate Magic thinks Andrew’s opinion is the popular one but that is his prerogative. Trying to rile up the Lakers fanbase to boo Magic is truly classless for sure. We need Magic and the Lakers legend to voice their opinion because their voice is heard the loudest and they know basketball better than anyone.

      • AndrewUngvari

        Nobody tried to get people to boo Magic. I told him that he shouldn’t be surprised if he heard those boos. That was based entirely on the things people were sending me on twitter during his latest rant. Just go look at my mentions over the past three days, even before this was posted.

    • AndrewUngvari

      What’s crazy is that your name is AndrewU-Sucks and my name is Andrew U. That’s quite a coincidence. I’m even more impressed that you think 10 pages is a novel. What kind of novels do you read? By the way, I’m far from rich. My seats aren’t courtside. I sit in the 300s above all three rows of luxury seats.

      Perhaps you should go back and reread my novel because you still seem to think that Jim Buss, Jr. (whoever that is) is the sole reason why this team is so dysfunctional. You know that sole means only, right AndrewU-Sucks? I didn’t call you names. I didn’t call Magic names. But you hide behind a fake name and call me an idiot while you add a Jr. to Jim Buss and tell me I have “not clue” what I’m talking about.

      At least you added the regards at the end. A nice touch. Come back when you’re ready to discuss these things like an adult, without name calling. Alright, Albert Einstein, Jr.?

      In the meantime, think about what the Lakers franchise has done for Magic since 1979 and tell me if you think they deserve his constant public criticism.

  • LAL918

    Ungvari’s right, while Magic complains at an all time high & has his own opinions, complaining about the problems the Lakers currently have wouldn’t solve anything. Under this new CBA, it is technically impossible for the Lakers to get around it; which is something most Lakers fans REFUSE to accept it as. Since that rumor on Love going to the Lakers next year can be a possibility, realistically: whoever they draft this year, they have to pay that player the rookie salary & then go after 1 max free agent & surrounding whatever talent they have that can accommodate Kobe or Love for that matter.

    However, it won’t be easy; D12 was the first Laker to deny the name only so in a way, encouraged impending free agents to either stay with the team they’re with OR sign to some other team that ISN’T the Lakers. I think the Lakers will be forced to build through the draft while at the same time; pleasing Kobe in anyway they can this off-season.

  • Bartleby

    When not busy burying other people in order to promote his own legacy, Magic is busy giving NBA analysis and opinions that are so terrible that they would make Shaq blush. His legacy is basically the only thing that prevents him from getting called out like other buffoons in the media do. He’s basically an athletic Chris Broussard.

  • John Terran

    Andrew, why don’t u do a poll for Jim Buss? And if Magic should keep voicing his opinion?

    • AndrewUngvari

      What kind of misleading BS is that? How about I do a poll on whether or not Magic’s criticism is excessive or fair?

      • John Terran

        Not a poll if Magic’s criticism is excessive or fair.
        A poll for the readers to see if Magic should keep on airing his opinion. Magic tweeted that he is no longer airing his criticisms.
        ie. Should Magic keeping publicly give his opinion and criticism on the Lakers?
        a. Yes. We want to hear what Magic has to say no matter how hard it may be to hear.
        b. Yes to a degree.
        c. No

        But you can do a poll on Magic’s criticism is excessive or fair too.
        ie. Was Magic’s criticism excessive or fair?
        a. Yes
        b. No

        Looking at the comments, it looks 50/50. But nice to have the some numbers. I’m curious and i’m sure most fans are too.

        • John Terran

          Was Magic’s criticism excessive or fair?
          a. Excessive. Not helping right now
          b. Fair. Magic is just speaking the truth

  • LastOfThePrimes

    Uh… WHO DA FUQ ARE YOU COMPARED TO MAGIC??? When someone like Magic critiques this team as severely as he has been, instead of letting your emotion filled, experience deficient mind say ANYTHING to him, you should “hush” and realize if ANYONE knows what he’s saying about this team, it’s him. Magic has done more for the city of LA than ANY prior hometown athlete, so have faith that his critique is like that of a loving, responsible parent. Necessary and worthy of heeding.

    • AndrewUngvari

      I appreciate your opinion but don’t you think Magic owes something to the Lakers franchise as well? Did they not do anything for him too? Did Dr. Buss not make Magic a minority owner in the team, allowing him to sell that percentage for a massive profit and buy into the Dodgers? I’m not saying Magic isn’t entitled to his opinion. I’m saying that his piling on the team at a point when they can’t do anything about it is unfair to a franchise that has treated him so well. If you don’t agree with that, then we can’t agree on anything.

  • princesspr

    THANK YOU, Andrew M. Ungvari! Nothing worst than people who you respect kicking you while you are down!

  • Robert Perez

    Well said, I hope he actually reads this. Probably not, but good read.

  • MambaKillYou

    To the author of this article. if you can’t take the heat, then get out the kitchen. Magic is just speaking the truth. I’m 100% sure he’s aware of all the excuses you pointed out in this letter. Everyone keeps talking about all the reasons and excuses why the the Lakers lose. YES, the CBA screwed us. YES we’ve been riddled with injuries. I think all laker fans get that, including Magic. No one expects the lakers to be serious contenders. Magic like myself is just expressing his frustration at how the Lakers are playing. Defensively, they get burned by the same damn play every time. Opponents run simple PnRs to drive right in for easy lay ups. This same play destroys the lakers over and over again. Now over 40 games into the season, still no sign of any emphasis or adjustments made to fix this. Getting embarrassed by some of the worse teams in the league. I would say however, that the lakers offensively are over achieving. Yet they still managed to lose 17 of the last 20 games. Which just re-enforces my point. Lakers couldn’t stop a leaky faucet. This leads me to the main point I want to make. His criticism is actually aimed at mgmt if you pay close attention. When he says talent won’t want to come to LA. That’s directed at mgmt because Magic knows that as long as Dantoni is the coach, we are not on a championship path. And Magic is right on. Now that Kobe’s game has diminished (sadly), what will attract new talent? Before it was the Laker brand that attracted talent. It was Jerry Buss and his commitment to win rings. Having Dantoni as our coach is detrimental. It has tarnished the Laker brand and THAT’S why magic is making himself heard. We have to make moves that show players in the league that we are serious. Not hire a coach who is widely known to be incapable of winning championships. Magic loves the lakers and I dare say he knows what’s best for them more than any of us. He has the platform to voice the opinions of us fans. Don’t handcuff him with weak ass letters. I actually was so glad to hear him say all this. Jim Buss needs to know this shit if he doesn’t already. Honestly, I love Laker nation. Really a great resource for true laker fans. But I don’t know about this letter. It’s like a sensitive fanboy wrote it.

    • AndrewUngvari

      Not sure which one of use sounds like the sensitive fanboy, the one who thinks that Magic owes it to the franchise to keep his criticisms to a minimum or the one who thinks that a team that has started Shawne Williams, Robert Sacre, Jodie Meeks, Kendall Marshall, and Chris Kaman this season should be capable of beating anyone. These aren’t the Lakers. So judging them like they are all in the first year of four-year deals is unfair. They are a bunch of one-year rentals who were signed because the team didn’t have the cap space to field a real team.

      In other words, yours and Magic’s expectations for the Lakers as a franchise are legitimate. I’m right there with both of you. But yours and Magic’s expectations for this year’s team, given both the roster of castoffs and the injuries, is unfair and unrealistic. The fact that they were 10-9 and 13-13 at one point is a miracle. They were one of the feel-good stories of the leagues first quarter. But then injuries hit as the schedule got tougher and the team submarined to where they are now.

      Why is that so hard for people to understand? Look at their roster, brother. Seriously look at it.

      • MambaKillYou

        Andrew, read my comment carefully before replying. I clearly stated that we all understand the reasons for the Lakers losing this year. The injuries, etc… WE GET THAT. We have a bunch of rental players…WE GET THAT. We shouldn’t have high expectations this year….WE GET THAT. MAGIC GETS THAT.

        However it is not unrealistic to expect a little direction. After all, the Lakers are a professional NBA team. 40 games into the season, and STILL we get burned be the same play. We still can not stop the pick and roll. We get embarrassed by the worst teams in the NBA. For example, Bucks, 76ers, and Cavs. If we would’ve just won one of those games, it would be acceptable. But no, we lost all 3….some at home….and some by a margin larger than it should have. No direction. No adjustments. No growth. No improvement. That tells me the players aren’t responding to the coaching OR there is no coaching.

        How much losing will YOU excuse Andrew? Yes the roster is terrible, but how much will you excuse? Do you understand the difference between LOSING and being LOSERS? BIG difference. I can accept losing as I have accepted our record this year. Again, injuries/personnell….I GET that. But Dantoni has the purple and gold playing like losers. LOSERS don’t adjust. LOSERS get burned by the same play over and over again, and LOSERS make excuses. OVER 40 games into the season and no sign of any direction. LOSERS make the same mistake over and over again. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. Why can’t YOU understand this?

        Magic is criticizing because the Laker brand is being tarnished. Dantoni has em playing like losers.

        We are in a unique time in Lakers history. For the first time since the Jerry Buss era, we have no Jerry Buss. We really don’t know how the team will be run. Magic is the voicing what he believes Jerry Buss would say and feel. Besides Kupchak (who can’t really voice his opinion as he is still an employee of the Lakers), Magic has most of Jerry Buss influences and philosophy. And you are here writing a letter to censor him? Effen ludacris man.

        What are you going to do 2-3 years down the road. Jim Buss extends Dantoni’s contract. And we are still a sub .500 team…Still missing the playoffs….Still getting burned by the same plays. Magic has been silenced. Who will be the voice to carry Jerry Buss legacy? You messed up Andrew. Shoulda traded your ass to Cleveland with the other Andrew!

        • AndrewUngvari

          If intelligence was based on words being capitalized and the use of exclamation points, you my friend, would be the world’s smartest man.

          Do you think that Jerry Buss would criticize the team on twitter by publicly stating that he’s heard that free agents don’t want to sign with the Lakers because they are dysfunctional? Jerry Buss was a poker player, my man. He would never air his dirty laundry. That’s bad business. Period. You might want to do a little research on Jerry Buss. You might learn something.

          Do you not see where Magic’s criticism of this year’s team ends and his criticism of the franchise as a whole begins? And what exactly are you referring to when you say that Magic has most of Jerry Buss influences and philosophies? What are you talking about? Which philosophies? I can’t wait to hear your answer to this one.

          I hate the losing just as much as you do but I’m willing to just write this season off, knowing that more than half the team will be gone next year — a team made up of castoffs and draft busts. There’s a reason why each of them was signed for just a tad over a million. Because they’re not good, especially on defense.

          If Jim Buss fails to put a decent team together while finally having assets (i.e. cap space and draft picks), then I promise you that I’ll be the first person to jump on him.
          But I’m not going to run up to my buddy while he’s talking to a girl at a bar and tell her that he has gastrointestinal issues and makes the worst smelling farts, even if he does. Because that’s essentially what Magic was doing.

          Let me make this clear: I never tried to silence Magic. I just wanted him to think about how much harder he was making Mitch and Jim’s job with the things he was saying, especially after everything the franchise did for him. Answer me this: at the very least, does he not owe anything to the Lakers for all they’ve done for him?

          And the Lakers didn’t trade the other Andrew to Cleveland, genius. They traded him to Philadelphia. Do your homework.

  • Danny

    Not well said it is the truth. The Lakers is just horrible to watch and the coach doesn’t have what it takes to win sorry. The owners are destroying Mr. Buss’ legacy

    • AndrewUngvari

      Perhaps you should reread what I wrote. If they are horrible to watch, it’s because they’re dealing with the fallout of a new set of rules and contacts that Dr. (not Mr.) Buss handed out. Jim and Mitch are only trying to make do with what few assets he left them. If they’re signing castoffs like Wes Johnson, Xavier Henry, Shawne Williams, and Kendall Marshall, it’s because that’s all they have to give out are minimum contracts.

      Educate yourself.

  • Long Time Fan

    As a long time Lakers fan I agree with Magic and not you. Somebody needs to speak up and I’m glad that Magic has done it. Sorry but you don’t speak for me and I’d bet money that Jim B and Mike (no) D will hear boos around LA before Magic does.

    • AndrewUngvari

      I mentioned that there were many fans who felt that Magic was speaking his frustrations on their behalf. I wasn’t speaking for you. I was speaking as someone who wants to see this team turn things around as quickly as possible. Broadcasting that you think they’re dysfunctional doesn’t help to accomplish that. Not while there’s nothing they can currently do about it.

      Mike (no) D. I hadn’t heard that one before.

  • Victor Tellez

    I agree with Magic’s assessment. Buess, Jr has been associated with 3 failed franchises his father had him run. Magic has made winners of almost everything he is associated with. I believe he has voiced the feeling of many fans. All he did was verbalize what many around the league see. So to say he is poisoning the well is wrong. It’s been poisoned and everyone knows it.

    • AndrewUngvari

      You might want to check your resources, Victor. The Lazers were run by Johnny Buss and the Strings were run by Jeanie Buss. I don’t know if you’re referring to the Kings, Sparks, or D-Fenders as the third franchise but Jim had nothing to do with any of them. Please educate me on what you see as Jim’s three failed franchises. I’m enjoying telling you how wrong you are while simultaneously educating everyone who reads this.

      Magic’s words carry weight. It’s one thing when someone on the outside wants to say that the franchise is dysfunctional. They’re just speculating. When someone as connected as Magic says it, it can ONLY do harm at a time when they need his support the most. Where’s Magic’s loyalty? How would you feel if one of your former employees, who you made a very rich man, started telling people that your business is dysfunctional? I’d love to know.

  • Marilyn Eustice Halcomb

    As the saying goes, if you can’t say something good the don’t say anything at all!!!

  • Lakers4life

    The issue I have with Andrew Ungvari’s article is that Andrew implying that he is representing Laker fans. I believe Andrew is in the minority. Most of us want Magic to speak his mind and he has earned the right to say whatever he wants. 5 titles in 13 years. Greatest Laker of all time. Statue at Staple Center. Enough said.

    For Andrew to try to bully Magic by threatening boos at Dodger game is classless and irresponsible writing by Andrew. Just because Andrew is sensitive to criticism (probably due to Andrew not playing team sports like basketball), does not mean the Laker fans feel the same. If someone knows Andrew’s high school days, please chime in if I am correct. Did Andrew play varsity sports in anything in high school?

    Did Magic appear to be going out of his way to criticize Jim and D’antoni? Sure he did. But he has that right that only Magic, West and Kareem and other greats have. Team greats has a right to do when others cannot. Criticize ownership, management, coaches, players publicly. Period.

    Other than that, LakersNation tried to push a false rumor to start crap between Kobe and Magic about Magic’s tweet about great players. Also trying to get Laker fans to go against Magic. Classless once again.

    I am very concerned over LakerNations attack on Magic. It seems like LakerNation is full of crybabies who really don’t understand the context of Laker history. Magic not voicing his opinion is a huge loss to Laker fans. From today, I will be boycotting LakerNation. I have enjoyed your articles and interviews by Serena over the years, but it is time for me to say goodbye. I hope Laker fans who agree will join me until Andrew issues an apology.

    • AndrewUngvari

      First of all, there was no attack here. Nor did anyone ever threaten Magic with boos. I went out of my way to not only tell Magic how much respect I have for him but to also mention that there were many Lakers fans who felt he was voicing their frustrations on their behalf. If you think I’m making that up, please feel free to go back and reread it (while you’re at it, please look up the definitions of attack and threaten also). Nobody threatened him with boos. I told him not to be surprised if he heard them.

      I’m not exactly sure what you’re referring to when you say that I’m sensitive to criticism but the fact that you are “concerned” over an “attack” that didn’t occur, and have resorted to boycotting LakerNation because you disagree with one of their writers, is the most overly dramatic exhibition I’ve seen from anyone over the age of six (a relief since this is LakersNation with an “s”).

      Nobody is trying to turn anyone against Magic. By the way, I love the lecture about class from the guy who is trying to rally a boycott and dig up dirt on my high school athletic career. Why don’t you put up a reward? You might get a better response. Maybe you can go on eBay and buy my old high school yearbooks.

      I’m pretty sure I made it abundantly clear that Magic had every right to criticize the Lakers and that I couldn’t stop him from doing so. I merely pointed out that there were many (not all) Lakers fans who were tired of not only his constant piling on, but also his 180s on personnel moves he once championed, as well as how his increasing criticisms and spreading of rumors at such a critical point in their rebuild, was doing more harm than good.

      If you want to have a civilized dialog, we can do it. If you want to make stuff and make false threats, then I welcome your boycott. But don’t punish Serena because you disagree with me. That’s not fair to her and all the hard work she does.

      Good luck with your boycott and muckraking and most importantly, go Lakers!

  • lakerguy

    Somebody reposted this in its entirety at SSR; there are a huge number of people there who essentially insult and mock anybody who dares to question the Lakers’ current FO. The “letter” makes some good points, particularly about some of the stuff the team was doing to try to get one more title for Kobe and for the Old Man. But the fact that it is so long raises the key point: the Jim Buss regime needs to start making some decisions that its supporters DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN–because those decisions ACTUALLY WORKED. I am not saying Jim Buss is a clown or a loser or that he can’t get the Lakers off the deck. I am saying that nothing that the Lakers have done under him has really worked out. The defense of the Jim Buss regime essentially begins and ends with the Veto of the Paul deal. If Paul were a Laker, everything would be different, probably better, and if that were the case we probably wouldn’t hear nearly as much about Phil, Magic, etc. I think Howard would probably be here, and either Mike Brown or a guy whom Paul, Howard and Kobe all wanted would be the coach. Tiresome as the topic is, it is still very relevant to any objective eval of the FO.

    OTOH, defenders of the FO should acknowledge that none of Jim Buss’ big decisions has actually worked:

    1. The Brown Hire
    2. The Nash Deal
    3. The D’Antoni Hire
    4. Keeping MDA during Howard’s free agency
    5. Kobe’s extension

    For the record, I supported 2 and 3, but not 1, 4 and 5. And there are all the caveats–Nash got hurt, Phil didn’t really want the job, Old Man Buss wanted MDA, Howard is a jerk so MDA is not at fault for not connecting with him, Howard would have left anyway, and of course Kobe’s extension hasn’t even kicked in yet, CBA, injuries…etc etc etc. But the fact is that Buss is basically 0-for-4, and while it is very early on Kobe, The Last Chapter could not have really started off much worse than it has.

    The other thing is this: Jim Buss’ entire regime has sent a three-word message to the fan base: “I got this.” Bertka, Vitti, and of course Kupchak are still around, but Buss has shown no hesitation in cutting ties with other long-time Lakers fixtures, from Phil Jackson to Ronnie Lester to Alex McKechnie to Rudy Garciduenas. And, three of his major decisions–hiring Brown over Shaw, not at least publicly offering the job to Phil and letting him turn it down, and giving Kobe a massive two-year extension before Kobe had suited up–all went against the conventional grain and therefore sent that same message.

    So, since Buss has done things his way and nothing big he has done has really worked yet, defending him involves a lot of explaining and apologizing, a lot Yeah, buts, and a lot of you gotta have faith and look at those bloodlines arguments. And we pretty much see all of these in the “letter” to Magic. That is what happens when you are 16-31, have no really good young players, and most of the draft picks are gone.

    The Veto is a big enough Yeah, but, that I think we need to see what the organization does over the next two years. But the Jim Buss FO needs to start some making big decisions that its supporters don’t need to explain away.

  • lakerguy

    Looking at some of the stuff below, a few points:

    1. Jim Buss’ quals for the gig that he now has are essentially that he grew up around the Lakers and has worked for them. He does not have a college degree in any subject, much less one related to what he does now. He has never played or coached basketball at any level.

    2. It is true that Dwight Howard never said that he would have stayed with the Lakers had Phil been the coach. It is, however, also true that Howard said that he wanted them hire Phil. Dave McMenamin, during Howard’s free agency, said that the team’s only chance to keep Howard was to hire Phil.

    3. Jim Buss did let go of Alex McKechnie, a long-time member of the Lakers with the title “athletic coordinator” who was involved in training and rehab. McKechnie now works for the Raptors. Phil, being Phil, has said that he believes the injuries are connected to this decision.

    4. As noted below, Jim was officially the head of the org. when Mike Brown was hired. It may be that the Old Man was still calling the shots, but if so, logic dictates that Jim gets no credit for the Paul, Nash, and Howard deals if he gets no blame for the Brown and D’Antoni hires. If Jim’s backers want to assign him responsibility only for decisions made after his father’s passing, that’s fine, but it needs to cut both ways.

    5. As to Magic: As to how much Magic’s blasts are hurting the franchise…I don’t think anyone really knows. It is certainly possible that NBA stars take Magic’s comments very seriously; I think it is equally possible that they see Magic the way a lot of younger people see older folks–out of touch, behind the times, and not to be taken seriously at all. It probably varies from player to player. That said, I very much doubt that what Magic says on Leno will be a major factor for Kevin Love when he has to decide whether he wants to play here. I will also guarantee, right now, that if Love doesn’t come here, that there will be fans, both here and elsewhere, who assign more responsibility for that to Phil, Magic et al for badmouthing Buss than they will assign to Buss himself.

    • AndrewUngvari

      All great points. The only things I really disagree with are with Kevin Love’s free agency. Love wants to make the playoffs and compete for a ring. He hasn’t had the chance to do either yet. If he hits free agency, why would he entertain signing with another dysfunctional franchise? How does that get him closer to competing for a ring. So the Lakers essentially have one year to change that perception and look like a team that’s going places. Magic’s incessant criticisms make that task harder. I’m pretty sure ALL of the blame will be placed on Jim. This was his golden chance and he blew it. Myself included. I can’t place more blame on what Jim didn’t do than on something Phil or Magic said.

      Again, really appreciate the comments.

      • lakerguy


        Indeed. There are folks out there assuming that Love is coming here (as a UCLA grad and a fan of Love’s game, I would be all over it). But right now, it is hard to see the Lakers being in shape enough to get him to want to, even with his LA ties.

        • AndrewUngvari

          Exactly. If Love leaves Minnesota, he’s leaving a lot of money on the table. He’s not doing that without at least one other guy already in place that he feels he can compete with. If that’s this summer’s No. 1 pick, then he better prove it next season.

  • Eric

    Excellent. You articulated the truth of the situation perfectly. We need Magic to be reinforcing all the ideals that make Los Angeles the premiere place to play, and not reinforcing ideals that make it seem that somehow the Clippers are main LA attraction. This is easily one of the most well written Lakers Nation articles I’ve ever read.