PHILADELPHIA - Magic Johnson has no regrets about the public nature of his conversations with New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps during the past two weeks, as the Los Angeles Lakers tried to trade for Anthony Davis. Johnson believes his players are professional enough to handle hearing their names in trade rumors.
"Quit making this about thinking these guys are babies, because that's what you're treating them like," said Johnson, the Lakers' president of basketball operations. "They're professionals. All of them. This is how this league works. They know it, I know it. That's how it goes. So we gotta move forward, and we are moving forward. They played outstanding against Boston, give them credit. We need to play well and move on."
Johnson was asked if he thought the negotiation with New Orleans was a good faith negotiation.
"No," Johnson said. "We knew that basically at the end of the day what happened happened. And we knew that when we first started. In terms of what happened. But hey, it is what it is."
The Lakers reached out to the Pelicans after Davis' agent, Rich Paul, told reporters on Jan. 28 that his client had requested a trade. Johnson spoke with Demps the next day, and sent a series of offers to the Pelicans on Jan. 30.
While they spoke several times for the next week, Demps never told Johnson what he wanted in return.
Johnson was in Michigan on Saturday for a reunion of Michigan State's 1979 National Championship basketball team. He then flew to Philadelphia to join the Lakers and met individually with several players.
"They get paid to do a job," Johnson said. "We're all professionals. I've been in this league 40 years. A lot of players got traded on Thursday. Guess what's gonna happen next year? A lot of players will get traded. A lot of players will stay home. I talked to our guys, they're in a good place."
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com