Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson Talk Lakers, CBA, Walton

New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson addressed fans at the Staples Center on Monday night at the 13th annual Lakers All-Access event, along with co-owner and president Jeanie Buss. As Baxter Holmes and Ramona Shelburne of detail, Johnson and Buss addressed a handful of topics, including the team’s recent front office changes, the impact of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on the team, and the Lakers’ pre-trade-deadline discussions with Larry Bird and the Pacers.

ESPN’s round-up includes a number of comments that we won’t pass along here, so be sure to check out Holmes’ and Shelburne’s transcript for more from Johnson and Buss. Here are a few of the highlights from the event:

Buss on why she didn’t shake up the Lakers’ front office sooner:

“It was probably the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. Certainly, I am a person who wants continuity, and change is difficult for anybody, but I agonized over it, thought about it and I think that’s what took so long to make the decision, is that it was so difficult. And I apologize to Lakers fans for taking that time. But it was something that had to be made in a very thoughtful way. ‘Well’, some people would say — ‘the timing is unusual because it was a couple days before the trade deadline.’ My thought was that, there really is no offseason in the NBA anymore, that you are constantly trying to plan for what’s coming up. So you have the trade deadline then you have the draft lottery, then you have the draft, then you have summer league — it’s always something. So there really is never a right time to make a change like that. But once I knew in my heart that it was the right decision, then there was really no time like the present.”

Buss on the league’s new CBA:

“There’s 30 teams in the NBA, and I really truly believe that the current CBA and the way the league is set up is that any team at any time can win a championship, and that’s what you really want as a commissioner. You want everybody to have that opportunity. But I think even with an even playing field, there’s something about playing for Lakers fans, Laker nation — no CBA can make that equal. We have the greatest fans and they can’t take those away from us with the CBA. As long as they continue to do that, I think the Lakers will have an edge and pulling from all our strengths and all our assets, which includes former players, like Magic Johnson, like Kobe Bryant — those are our strengths.”

Johnson on engaging in trade talks with longtime rival – and Pacers GM – Larry Bird:

“We only talked for about two or three minutes about the possibility of a trade, but it was more geared toward later on, not at that moment. It was just saying ‘Hi, I’m here and we’re looking forward to talking to you later on this summer.'”

Johnson on working with Lakers head coach Luke Walton:

“It’s been easy. It’s been really easy. This man is the coach of the Lakers. I’m not the coach. He’s the coach. I sit back. I just watch the game, I watch practice. His job is to coach. I may come to him and say, ‘So and so may need to work on this.’ Like I’ve done a couple times. But that’s up to him after that … But I would never interfere with him and the players that he’s coaching.”

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