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Magic Johnson says LeBron James should take responsibility for DeMar DeRozan joining the Bulls, not the Lakers

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Add Magic Johnson to the shortlist of Lakers legends criticizing LeBron James last week. The list already includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who recently said that LeBron should be embarrassed about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But while Abdul-Jabbar criticizes LeBron’s off-court activity, Johnson is targeting James’ participation in building the Lakers’ roster this season. Johnson believes LeBron should take responsibility for Southern California’s DeMar DeRozan’s touchdown with the Chicago Bulls this summer on the Lakers.

“When I think about it, the blame to take is the fact that DeRozan ended up in Chicago and not with the Lakers,” Johnson said on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Monday morning. DeRozan wanted to play for the Lakers, and when I got a call from his agent, I called the Lakers, and said, ‘Hey, he wants to go home.’ And it could have been DeRozan Laker instead of the Bull.

“We could have had that deal, but when Russell and LeBron started talking with them, that was when they called off that deal and they went with Westbrook, and Laker took over DeRozan.”

Instead, DeRozan went to Chicago in a signing and trading with Spurs that only cost them Thaddeus Young, a future first-round pick and two second-round picks. If the Lakers had acquired DeRozan instead of Westbrook, they would certainly be in a better position than they are today. DeRozan wouldn’t cost Los Angeles the amount it took to trade with Westbrook, which included giving up Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell.

While there’s no guarantee that DeRozan would have been working with the Lakers, it must have been a bit stretched to see him enjoy an All-Star year as he averages a career in points per game (28), while shooting a ridiculously well into the well (50 in). cent of the field, and 35 per cent of the depths). To make matters worse, DeRozan also plays alongside Alex Caruso, another player the Lakers let slip this summer by choosing not to give him a respectable contract.

Instead, the Lakers 31-47 this season, two games from the last place play in the Western Conference. Although they’re not officially ruled out of the fray, the odds of LA skipping Tottenham in that final spot in play and then actually making the playoffs are 0.2 percent per FiveThirtyEight.

If what Johnson said was true, the Lakers could have had DeRozan if he hadn’t paid LeBron for Westbrook, then that’s a real misstep on James’s part. Especially considering Westbrook likely won’t wear purple and gold next season as both sides have been reported to have a common interest in finding him in a new home this season. But at this point, it’s too late to sit back and fantasize about what the Lakers could have been like with DeRozan. Now, LA needs to focus on retooling LeBron and Anthony Davis for next season, and hopefully this disappointing year is just a glimpse on the radar and not something we expect going forward.

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