Magic Johnson is one of the most beloved figures in NBA basketball today. But the charm of the five-time champion was not enough to get Carmelo Anthony to leave the New York Knicks this summer and head to the Los Angeles Lakers.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Meanwhile, Johnson also said he tried to convince Carmelo Anthony to leave the New York Knicks in an hourlong phone conversation. Ultimately the high-scoring forward chose to re-sign in New York.
As we’ve seen with Carmelo, LeBron James and others, it’s clear that today’s generation of players care more about the talent of the current roster than Johnson and the storied history of the Los Angeles Lakers. The team’s roster isn’t very strong these days and there’s nothing Johnson could do in a phone call to change that.
It turns out Carmelo wasn’t the only free agent Johnson spoke to this summer. But again, the results were the same.
Johnson noted that he spoke at length with Pau Gasol, who chose to leave for the Chicago Bulls instead of staying with the Lakers.
“We had a great conversation but I think the way he was treated last season, kind of hurt him,” said Johnson. “Here’s a guy 18 [points] and 10 [rebounds], shooting over 50% and you want to bench him? You want to mess with this guy? He could never get over that.”