Magic Johnson steps down as Lakers president of basketball operations

                            2019-04-10 03:35:25 GMT2019-04-10 11:35:25(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

                            NBA legend Magic Johnson announced that he will step down as Lakers' president of basketball operations at the pre-game conference before the LA Lakers season finale against Portland Tuesday.

                            The franchise great announced his decision and said he hasn't informed Jeanie Buss, as he couldn't stand to face the owner.

                            Magic denied that the decision is about coach Luke Walton, despite rumors that the two have an ice-cold relationship and that Johnson intended to fire him. Instead, he cited he wants to interact with and comment on players on other teams like he used to, without getting the Lakers fined for tampering.

                            "I want to be free and not have handcuffs on me," Johnson said.

                            Johnson took up his role, replacing Jim Buss in February 2017. His two-year-spell as the president was highlighted by the blockbuster signing of Lebron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers to rebuild the team last summer, but was controversial for a failed attempt to introduce the New Orleans Pelican's Anthony Davis.

                            The Lakers missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, and are 10th in the Western Conference with a 37-44 record.

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