Magic Johnson backtracks on hugging untraded Lakers

Dan Feldman
NBC Sports

The Lakers didn’t trade for Anthony Davis before Thursday’s deadline.

The Lakers did have most of their roster – Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac (who got sent to the Clippers in another deal), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley – named in reports of Los Angeles’ offers to the Pelicans.

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That appeared to take a toll on the Lakers’ chemistry. So, Lakers president Magic Johnson met with the team Sunday.

But his tone before and after differed significantly.

Johnson on Saturday, via Larry Lage of the Associated Press

“It’s a part of business, it’s a part of being a professional athlete,” he said Saturday. “I’m going to hug ’em and tell them that we got to come together and our goal is still in reach, which is to make the playoffs.”

Johnson on Sunday, via ESPN:

I’m not that guy. I’m not the guy who, “Ohhhh, I’m going to hold. I’m going to go up and hug guys.” I’m not that dude.

Quit making this about thinking these guys are babies, because that’s what you’re treating them like. They’re professionals. All of them. And this is how this league works. They know it. I know it. That’s how it goes.

What’s worse, your team trying to trade you for a superstar or your boss pledging to hug you then rescinding the offer? Either way, tough times for Lakers players.

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