Magic Johnson Might Be Able to Mentor Ben Simmons After All
The NBA was nothing short of entertaining on Tuesday night as each storyline seemed to top the other. First, the entire league was focused on the Philadelphia 76ers matchup against the Miami Heat. Not because it was must-see television for basketball purposes, but more like just one big tribute to a retiring future legend in Dwyane Wade.
Just as the Sixers and the Heat were ready to tip off though, some big news made its way out from the West Coast. Out of nowhere, Los Angeles Lakers' head of basketball operations Magic Johnson decided to step down from the teams' front office. As Johnson visibly struggled in his position over time, his eventual departure came out of the woodworks as he tipped his retirement off to the media before he even made the Lakers' team and ownership aware of his idea to call it quits.
Johnson was rumored to be on the hot seat throughout the season. Despite bringing in the most prominent free agent of the 2018 NBA offseason, Magic did a poor job building around LeBron James and the Lakers' young core. Signings were underwhelming, trades weren't going through, and overall the Lakers were struggling to perform. Before he could get fired though, Magic Johnson decided to step down, and admits that a situation involving one of the Sixers' own played a critical role in his decision this year.
Just a few months ago, Magic Johnson dropped a bomb on the Philly media when he announced that Sixers' star guard Ben Simmons wanted to work with him during the 2019 offseason. He mentioned that he intended on discussing 'big guard secrets' with Simmons. Naturally, this sent everybody into a whirlwind and added more fuel to the Ben Simmons-Lakers talks that were going on as early as last summer.
Of course, Johnson's quotes opened up a can of worms not only with the media but within the NBA as well. As everybody lost their minds over the situation, the league refused to sign off on the secret meeting to avoid any potential tampering going on between the Lakers and Ben Simmons. According to Magic, the situation upset him as he wants to serve as a mentor for younger players.
With Johnson officially out of the Lakers front office, there's a good chance Ben Simmons can link back with him to officially get some of those 'big guard' tips. If the Sixers become open to the situation, Simmons could and should work with Magic to improve his game. Although Simmons was an All-Star in 2019, he still has a ton of work to do this summer. Getting a few sessions in with Magic Johnson could be crucial.
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