Magic Johnson says LeBron James has to take the blame for DeMar DeRozan becoming a member of the Bulls

Add Magic Johnson to the shortlist of Lakers legends who’re criticizing LeBron James this previous week. An inventory that already contains Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who not too long ago mentioned that LeBron must be embarrassed together with his dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However whereas Abdul-Jabbar is criticizing LeBron’s off-court activism, Johnson is taking goal at James’ involvement within the roster development for the Lakers this season. Johnson thinks LeBron ought to take the blame for Southern California native DeMar DeRozan touchdown with the Chicago Bulls this summer time over the Lakers.

“After I give it some thought, the blame that he is gotta take is the truth that DeRozan ended up in Chicago and never with the Lakers,” Johnson mentioned on ESPN’s Get Up on Monday morning. “DeRozan wished to play for the Lakers, and once I received the decision from his agent, I known as the Lakers, mentioned, ‘Hey, he needs to come back house.’ And DeRozan might have been a Laker as an alternative of a Bull.

“We might have made that deal, however when Russell and LeBron and them began speaking, that is once they nixed that deal and went with Westbrook, and he turned a Laker as an alternative of DeRozan.”

DeRozan as an alternative went to Chicago in a sign-and-trade with the Spurs that solely price them Thaddeus Younger, a future first-round choose and two second-round picks. If the Lakers had gotten DeRozan as an alternative of Westbrook, they would definitely be in a greater place than they’re in the present day. DeRozan would not have price L.A. the enormous haul it took to commerce for Westbrook, which included giving up Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell.

Whereas it is no assure that DeRozan would’ve labored with the Lakers, it has to sting fairly a bit to see him having an All-Star yr the place he is averaging a career-high in factors per sport (28), whereas taking pictures the ball ridiculously effectively (50 p.c from the sphere, 35 p.c from deep). So as to add insult to damage, DeRozan can be enjoying alongside Alex Caruso, one other participant the Lakers let slip away this summer time by opting to not supply him a good contract.

As an alternative, the Lakers are 31-47 this season, and are two video games again of the final play-in spot within the Western Convention. Although they don’t seem to be formally eradicated from competition, the percentages of L.A. passing the Spurs for that final spot within the play-in, after which truly making the playoffs is at 0.2 p.c per FiveThirtyEight.

If what Johnson’s saying is true, that the Lakers might’ve had DeRozan had LeBron not pushed for Westbrook, then that is an actual misstep on James’ half. Particularly contemplating Westbrook seemingly will not be sporting purple and gold subsequent season as it has been reported that each side have a mutual curiosity to find him a brand new house this offseason. However at this level, it is too late to take a seat and fantasize about what the Lakers might’ve been with DeRozan. Now, L.A. must concentrate on retooling round LeBron and Anthony Davis for subsequent season and hope that this disappointing yr was only a blip on the radar moderately than one thing to count on going ahead.

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