Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson told ESPN that he believes the New Orleans Pelicans weren't acting in good faith as the two sides looked to come to terms on a deal centered around Anthony Davis. Late last month, Davis’ agent Rich Paul informed the Pelicans that he would not sign a contract extension with the team, and requested a trade. With all signs pointing towards the Lakers landing AD, New Orleans appeared to purposely stall negotiations with their sights set on including the Boston Celtics this upcoming offseason.
Along the way, the players being thrown around by the Lakers in exchange for Davis were made public, causing what appeared to be a rift between LeBron James and the rest of the roster. Johnson believes that the players who remain on the team cannot dwell on something that is just the nature of the business.
“Quit making this about thinking these guys are babies because that's what you're treating them like," Johnson said. "They're professionals. All of them. And this is how this league works. They know it, I know it, that's how it goes.”
"So we've got to move forward, and we are moving forward,” Magic adds. “They played outstanding against Boston, give them credit. And we want to play well today and continue on. This is a part of the league. You've got a good side of the business that we get paid to be professional basketball players and there's deals like this."
Magic also took a moment to remember that, as a member of the front office, there are circumstances that qualify as being the nature of the business when it comes to deals playing out in the public eye. “All deals are. ... A lot of them are made in public," he said. "We didn't make it in public, but that's part of it. That's what happens, man. We've got big boys here, and they bounce back. They're fine."
In spite of how these negotiations turned out, Johnson promises to remain steadfast in getting a superstar talent to partner with James, saying, "We just want to get one of them."