Magic takes in Lakers; begins to leave his mark
Weeks ago now-Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson told Coach Luke Walton he was ready to grind. On Thursday morning, Johnson stood on a blue swath of Oklahoma City’s court wearing black warmup pants and a black Lakers sweatshirt, reviewing practice with Walton.
Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram, often used as a 6-foot-9 guard, wandered over to Johnson. The legendary 6-foot-9 point guard worked on the court with Ingram. He offered advice on how Ingram could better come off pick-and-rolls.
“He was telling me he noticed some things BI could’ve done during the scrimmage we had that he thought could be helpful,” Walton said. “He’s probably over there explaining it to him right now. Who better to tell a tall guard how to finish around the rim than Magic?”
Johnson traveled with the Lakers to Oklahoma City on Thursday morning. The NBA’s trade deadline elapsed while they flew, and the Lakers made a final move — one smaller than many wondered if they might make.
The Lakers inquired about Indiana Pacers star Paul George, a native of Palmdale, Calif., but those talks never went past a preliminary stage. Indiana reportedly had no real interest in trading George.
“I’m from L.A.,” George told reporters in Indianapolis of the idea he wanted to be traded to the Lakers. “There’s ties, there’s connections. But you can’t jump to conclusions based on that. If that was the case I wouldn’t have took a long extension here. I wouldn’t have thought about taking an extension; I would’ve played there a lot sooner. It is what it is.”
That the Lakers didn’t trade for George doesn’t preclude his joining them at some point. If he opts out of the final year of his contract, as he’s widely expected to do, George will become a free agent in the summer of 2018.
The designated player exception in the new collective bargaining agreement threatens to significantly restrict the movement of star players, the kind the Lakers hope…