Kawhi Leonard Wants To Meet With Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson

11:30pm: Full reports from ESPN and Los Angeles Times provide more details on Leonard’s proposed meeting(s) with the Lakers, as Shelburne, Turner, and Tania Ganguli explain in those stories that Kawhi’s camp made it clear he only wants Buss and Johnson involved in his meeting with the team.

The Lakers’ owner (Buss) and former president of basketball operations (Johnson) will likely have to meet with Leonard and his camp separately, since the NBA has told Johnson that he can’t be a formal part of the free agent process, per ESPN and The Times. He still has interest in doing what he can on an informal basis to help the Lakers.

While James and Davis also plan to meet with Leonard, they might not be involved in the Lakers’ formal meeting, since Kawhi’s camp let it be known he wants that meeting to be with only Buss, rather than with multiple members of the front office, according to The Times. Additionally, ESPN’s report notes that Davis can’t act as an official representative of the Lakers, since he won’t actually become a Laker until July 6.

4:50pm: Citing league rules, Johnson said he cannot participate in the meeting nor has Buss asked him to meet with any prospective free agents, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN tweets. A third party called Johnson and told him Leonard wanted to meet with him, Shelburne adds in another tweet.

4:24pm: Kawhi Leonard’s representatives plan to meet with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson next week when free agency begins, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The meeting will likely take place in Los Angeles, Turner adds.

A Yahoo Sports report on Thursday revealed that Leonard planned on meeting with both L.A. teams along with Raptors and this seems to firm up some of those plans.

The Lakers opened up a max $32MM salary slot for the Finals’ Most Valuable Player by agreeing to trade Moritz WagnerIsaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones to the Wizards as part of the Anthony Davis trade. Additionally, Davis has agreed to waive his $4MM trade kicker. The Lakers are hoping to secure Leonard or Kyrie Irving to form an imposing superstar trio with Davis and LeBron James.

James and Davis are planning to be part of the formal pitch to Leonard, Sam Amick of The Athletic tweets.

The presence of Johnson, rather than GM Rob Pelinka, at the proposed meeting is a little curious. Johnson infamously ripped Pelinka in a TV interview after resigning his post, though Johnson did praise Pelinka for pulling off the Davis trade.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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87 thoughts on “Kawhi Leonard Wants To Meet With Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson

  1. KnicksFanCavsFan

    So Buss annnnnnnnnd Magic. The guy who quit because of back stabbing and not enough structure and clear defined roles? Is meeting with Leonard instead of the GM Pelinka. Oh to be a fly on that wall or at least their waiter.

    • washington_bonercats

      I am also very confused by this. Didn’t Magic go on a media run basically cutting ties with the Lakers front office? Regardless I really don’t see Klaw going to the Lakers. He established himself in a lot of peoples eyes as the best player in the league. I think he’d rather lead somewhere like Toronto or even the Clips. Why play second fiddle to Lebron, maybe third due to AD.

      • jump shot

        How would he be 2nd/3rd fiddle if he’s the best player in the league????
        Of course, if Durant, Thompson, and Looney dont get hurt we’re not talking about Kawhi winning a championship, being the Finals MVP, or best player in the league.
        Really, if only one of those 3 players are healthy the whole series….

        • washington_bonercats

          In LA any player would be playing 2nd fiddle to Lebron. ANY PLAYER. And with all the hype and what they gave up Davis is clearly the number 2 guy. Kawhi could compete for second most popular on his own team or be the most popular player in an entire country. All of this is poppycock! Klaw to the Raps done deal

    • goldenmisfit

      I’m sorry, is a Knicks fan trying to run down a Nother teams management structure? That would be like a serial killer trying to give ethics advice to the Unabomber.

      • KnicksFanCavsFan

        As a long-time Knicks/Cavs fan I can detect dog-pooh without stepping in it. Besides, I’m a fan of Magic and feel that the media is making a bit too much of the Laker/Knicks dysfunction (especially NY considering they’ve added more competent ppl to the front office and coaching staff). But yeah, how weird would it be to have Buss and Magic meeting with Kawhi and agent in efforts to entice him to the Lakers considering the obvious questions? a) ummm…where’s the GM and b) “Magic didn’t you just quit on the team without telling Buss, because of the front-office dysfunction” c) No defined roles with upper management.

          • KnicksFanCavsFan

            I’m not but clearly there’s more confusion among the Lakers fin office and the Knicks. Not sure that’s even debatable. I’m not speaking historically. Just as of the last year.

    • 22Leo

      Leonard is smart and doesn’t trust the people Jeanie surrounds herself with. She really needs to wake up or just go away. She is killing this franchise because she is in over her head.

  2. goldenmisfit

    Magic Johnson being part of the meeting does not strike me as odd given Leonard was a big fan of Magic Johnson growing up and odds are he will sell him on the tradition of the Lakers. LeBron and Davis obviously will be there to sell him on the legacy they can edge out as the next big three.

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      LBJ and AD MIGHT be there but the article didn’t mention it and I would think they would as they aren’t “back office” people. But the biggest exclusion is the GM who might want to answer questions like “How do you plan on shaping the rest of the roster”? Or “How will I be used with two other major stars”. Just weird. I just never heard of a guy quitting his job because of dysfunction and then acting as a recruiter for the same team he just quit.

    • JonnyLucas

      Ummm… magic retired 26 years ago. Kawhi is 29. I don’t think he watched too much magic Johnson growing up.

      • DynamiteAdams

        Bro there’s this thing called YouTube. It has tons of videos of basketball highlights, some from games decades ago.

        • JonnyLucas

          We’re a lot of people watching you tube when Kawhi was a teenager in the early 2000s?

          • whoneedsfacts

            I’m about the same age as Lenord and I have seen plenty of his play on You Tube and ESPN is constantly showing classic games and specials. You do understand all of this stuff is avalible on demand now?

    • specialfriedrice

      @ goldenmisfit…research…don’t believe you read…Magic retired before Kawhi was born…

      • whoneedsfacts

        You do some research, Kawhi was 5 years old when Magic retired. Ugh you guys literally ignore facts to a point that discussion with you is like talking to the wall, oh wait the wall doesn’t lie.

  3. Reflect

    Former Rockets players have been involved in Rockets meetings with free agents. Recruitment by former players is pretty common. As much as I, a Celtics fan, love to hate on the Lakers, I really see nothing to talk about here. Magic isn’t even the first former player to do this for the Lakers.

    • goldenmisfit

      You’re absolutely right in fact after the Lakers signed LeBron James he was very vocal in saying a conversation he had with Kobe Bryant really made up his mind for him.

      • Here’s what I was thinking. Maybe Leonard wants to ask magic about the rumors of a messed up franchise? Maybe Magic would tell him about why he left and other insider info ?

        • snotrocket

          That was the impression I got as well, that the meetings with Magic and Buss would be separate.

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      Let’s draw an obvious distinction here. We aren’t talking about “just a former player”. We’re talking about the most popular Laker ever who shockingly quit his job because he felt mitigated by the owner and back-stabbed by his GM.

      Reporter: “Magic why did you quit”?

      Magic: “The owner took away some of my authority and I had co-workers lying on me and backstabbing. I’d rather go back to my day job”.

      Magic to Kawhi: “Hey dude, join the Laker family”.

      I think Magic has been hypnotized like the Black guy in “Get out”. Half-way thru the meeting he’s going to come out of the spell and advise Kawhi to run.

  4. Apparently, Magic and Pelinka have buried the hatchet, at least for now, and Jeanie Buss must have a soft spot in her heart for Johnson, to allow him to come crawling back. I wonder if Magic would have come back if the Lakers hadn’t landed Anthony Davis. It looks like the Lakers have a chance to be good again, and Earvin wants to be part of it.

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      You REALLY think Magic came “crawling back” to ANYONE?? I mean he and Buss still have a great relationship and they made a point of showing that with the photo they posted together a couple of days later. You can choose not to do business with a friend and still be friends. It’s not the state of their relation ship that shocks me. It’s the fact the article DIDN’T mention GM Pelinka AND coupled with the fact you’re recruiting a player to join the team you just quit. Didn’t anyone in the organization think that kind of feeds into the narrative of “too many chefs in the kitchen”? Wheeeeeeeeeeres Pelinka?

      • whoneedsfacts

        They amended the article to show that Magic won’t be at the meeting. Breaking news doesn’t always have all the facts.

  5. imindless

    Kawhi seems torn between lakers and raps. Honestly i think he should stay in toronto because he just won by himself. But nothing matters if the heart wants to be home and money is on the line i get it. This is kawhis last chance to secure a huge payday for he and his family. I think as far as fit they fit well, lebrons already been outspoken about letting ad and kawhi/kyrie take over team and he becomes the 3rd wheel. This would be one of the greatest teams ever assembled in history.

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      Dude it’s far from his “last chance”. He can get a super max once he reaches his 10th year in the NBA so he might consider doing a 1 +1 or 2 year deal and then sign for whatever amount he can get as a 10 year vet which is a lot more than what he can get now if I’m correct. Also, I don’t get the feeling that it’s Lakers or Raptors. More like Raptors or Clippers and maybe…maybe..the Lakers.

      • imindless

        Did ballmer pay you to say that? Sorry man but branding alone if he goes to la its the lakers. Ballmer has publicly donating million to most sports media outlets to make it seem like they have a shot. Aeg whos marketing branding for both the lakers and new balance want kawhi with lakers. Clippers just arent in the same realm of marketability as lakers, knicks etc. if you cant see this then your credibility has gone right out the window.

        • KnicksFanCavsFan

          You’re making a point of which I’m not speaking of. I simply reminded @imindless that no, this isn’t his last chance for a big contract. FACTUALLY, if he signs a 2 year deal he’ll be eligible for a larger super max once he rashes his 10th year in the NBA. That has nothing to do with where he signs or the marketing opportunities.

      • goldenmisfit

        I will be honest as a Lakers fan I thought they had at best maybe a 10% chance of landing him until I read the report from ESPN how he is requesting a meeting with Magic Johnson and Jeanie buss. The only time we have ever heard anything like that was last year with LeBron James and we saw what happened. Seems to me he is seriously considering the Lakers.

    • doubleringer

      “…I think he should stay in Toronto because he just won by himself…”. I think VanVleep, Ibaka, Gasol, Siakam and company might take offense to that. Heck, they might even wish him off to LA, altogether.

  6. goldenmisfit

    The fact that Leonard is wanting to talk to Magic Johnson might tell a lot of people the Lakers could be higher on his less than a lot of people think. It is almost as like Leonard is the Lakers to lose basically meaning he would have to really have a huge reason to turn down the Lakers. All of this tells me the Lakers in my opinion would be the odds on favorite to land him.

    • goldenmisfit

      Also, to all those people who said “he already won a championship on his own “ How to remember they beat the Warriors that did not have Kevin Durrant. Also as far as the money issue this is the same guy who turned down a few years ago a five-year are $185 million contract because he wanted to get the hell out of San Antonio and back to California. I can understand him staying in Toronto but it seems like the Lakers seem to be his preferred destination.

      • KnicksFanCavsFan

        And the GSW w/o Durant have never beat the Cavs with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love on the floor. How about that? Why does it matter?

        • imindless

          Funny but if durant and klay didnt get injured this would be a non story. Kawhis not beating the warriors with a healthy team….so all this talk that he took down warriors is short sided giannis could have beat the warriors too with kevon loney starting come on man. Kawhi granted he stays with raps aint beating a healthy lakers team with 2 of the best players on the planet plus whatever else they can do with 32 million.

          • Theone23

            Are you a moron?? Or just mindless like your name says?? The raptors were CLEARLY the better team in that series. Klay played most of the series, including games 1, 2, 4, 2 of those which the warriors lost. If KD was healthy, guess what, the Raptors would’ve won then too. Enough of this ‘the Raps only won because Klay and KD were hurt”. If you think that then you clearly don’t know basketball and weren’t watching the Raptors these playoffs carefully.

            • imindless

              Judging by your ignorant commentary if you think a team featuring four allstars is losing to just kawhi you are even more delusional than i initially thought. When kd played they won, beating curry and draymond means nothing lmao.

            • imindless

              Also the game klay got injured they were winning so had he stayed in they would have won.

            • 22Leo

              You are kidding yourself. I hate the Warriors and their fake fane base, but even I could see that they would have won the series if Thompson had not got injured.

      • x%sure

        How about that, an insight on Kawhi from someone who thinks he did not just win a title!

        • goldenmisfit

          Actually, what I said wise he won a title against the Warriors without their best player. Sounds like someone who hate the Lakers and their biggest nightmare would be for them to have a big three. Stop being so childish.

          • x%sure

            Oh you said more than that. You diminished the Toronto title and impled Kawhi does too. Those involved will not share that sophmoric view. It’s an NBA title and Kawhi led them to it and he knows it and so do sane people in general. (iMindless seems to be in decline.) Expect notice from somebody for insisting on deviations from truth.

            I do not have a strong Laker opinion unless they sign Irving then anti for sure.

          • x%sure

            On The Athletic, there was a massive deletion binge of comments suggesting the Toronto win was tainted.

  7. x%sure

    The league is being grinchy. I think Kawhi wants to see a chilhood hero try to recruit him. Something fun to do while he can. I’m not a big fan of superteams so I’m hoping that’s all this is.

  8. KnicksFanCavsFan

    “Citing league rules, Johnson said he cannot participate in the meeting nor has Buss asked him to meet with any prospective free agents”

    Well…..then there’s that. I wonder why he “can’t” participate? I know why he “shouldn’t”. Would be dope to read the actual rule. Does it literally say that “no employee that quits should have the audacity to try and recruit a player to join the mess he just left behind”?

  9. seamaholic

    “Talk to the hand” … that’s what “I’ll let you meet with my reps” means.

    Dude’s made up his mind, whatever it is. 90% sure it’s back to Toronto.

  10. KnicksFanCavsFan

    I read on ESPN that Kawhi asked to meet with Magic and Buss only. It didn’t specify why, but if true, it’s very interesting.

    • imindless

      You come across as a salty fan man. Sorry bron left you for us and sorry you didnt get zion lol!

      • KnicksFanCavsFan

        What do I have to feel salty about? I simply stated that a report came out that contradicted the one saying Magic and Buss were meeting with Kawhi. Dude grow up. You CAN root for a team and still manage to use common sense. What are you, 12 yo?

    • I think you’re right. He wants to meet with the people that are real and might give him the true word. Not erhaps empty promises from a former sports agent.

      He wants to hear the real stuff from people he trusts… Jeannie and Magic are those two people in this case.

      • IntheBeginning

        I think you may well be right. While both have a bit of a tarnished image, both are also seen as honest and truthful, it seems. I think there would be very little BS in talking with them.

  11. goldenmisfit

    I heard the same thing from ESPN. If this is true this would be a lot like what happened last year with LeBron going to the Lakers they took out the agents and the representatives and just handled it themselves.

  12. Vizionaire

    he cannot break the collective heart of a whole nation! sign with the birdies!

  13. Jordan

    Sounds like he will meet with the Lakers and then a separate meeting with magic to hear his side of the drama.

    • goldenmisfit

      I love when people say it is a week move says anyone who is a Lakers hater. As a Lakers fan I did not say Durrant going to Golden State was a week move. If you want to win a championship or multiple championships why not go to the team with the stars you believe can get you there. It is white Durrant dead and it is what Leonard is contemplating on doing. He can get the best of both worlds go back to California and compete for multiple titles and a historic Legacy. It is definitely worth at least thinking about.

  14. This seems like a formality. Kawhi joining the lakers would be weaker than KDs move to Golden State

    • whoneedsfacts

      Not even. People have been saying the Lakers gave too kuch up and can’t win. GS was coming off a record breaking winning season, Lakers didn’t even make the playoffs. Your just salty that the Lakers are about to be really good again. Sorry not sorry.

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      Not really. The GSW won a chip (although without Kyrie or Love) and won -73 games without KD who’s team took the GSW to within a hair of besting them. It was literally a if you (think you) can’t beat em join em move. It doesn’t take away from him bring an amazing player but facts are facts. Lakers have won or proven anything yet.

  15. Well, if Kawhi did request Magic’s presence I guess that’s why Magic is involved….

    • KnicksFanCavsFan

      Dude he didn’t demand a trade specifically to the Lakers. I believe the Clippers were a tram of interest as well.

  16. jmac2121

    Kawhi stays in Toronto. And when gasol, Lowry and serge are done, make a pitch for Giannis to join

      • goldenmisfit

        That remark really sounds like a Toronto diehard fan. I got to respect your loyalty but I will say Leonard insisting a face-to-face meeting with Jeanie buss and Magic Johnson does not bode well for Toronto.

        • whoneedsfacts

          Yeah I don’t know why Leonard would take the meeting so seriously if he wasn’t very interested in a Lakers deal getting done. I like the Raptors, but it won’t be any easier next year and will likely be a lot harder to win it all.

  17. goldenmisfit

    I just love all of the haters literally flipping out over seeing an article titled “Leonard representatives to meet with Lakers“. Listen, here is the deal one day we will hear Lakers favorite to sign Leonard the next day we will hear Toronto favorite to sign Leonard and this will go on and on until he decides. The truth is until it is official we will never know what is going on.

    • goldenmisfit

      I will end this discussion with one thing just heard that Stephen a Smith has said his sources are telling him that Leonard is seriously considering the Lakers take that for what it’s worth.

      • x%sure

        Well they bumped up the story so the discussion goes on.
        I like that you made a prediction that the Lakers are #1 for Kawhi right now. Some people don’t have the guts to predict something, even anonymously online. But opposing that prediction is the status quo, not “haters”. I do think a James-Davis-Leonard-12nobodies team would play out with unattractive basketball and a suddenly dreary storyline for them all.

        And so I hope Kawhi is just seeing what attention he can draw, like Klay, like what Cuban said about this process every year.

  18. showty

    klaw realize the same thing as kyrie…. takes to much too be the man on ah team…. he wants ah role!!!! with ah leader salary

  19. Yep it is

    Kawhi signs with the Lakers retires next year because of Head “ Coach” Head Case BRON BRON. and the total joke the Lakers organization has become.

  20. implant

    It’s simple. He grew up wanting to be a Laker. He already knows James and Davis. He wants to hear from the owner and the iconic player that the organization isn’t as screwed up as it might appear to be. If he believes them he will be a Laker. If he doesn’t he will remain a Raptor.

  21. hoosierhysteria

    The meeting with buss is about future. KL not playing little brother to LBJ. He is staying in Toronto on short term deal. When he is 10year vet and can get bigger max contract….fakers or clippers….that will be the next “decision”…..LBJ won’t be on the stage for this one.

    • goldenmisfit

      Not playing little brother? Is that why even after the Lakers signed LeBron James he was trying to force a trade to the Lakers when he was still in San Antonio? Sounds more like wishful thinking on your part.

  22. LOL at all the folks that whitewashed over what ACTUALLY happened in San Antonio last year in the glow of the championship. I have no doubts there were miscommunications about his unique, rare, and befuddling health condition (something like 8 independent doctors cleared him to play btw), but Uncle Dennis has always wanted him in a big market. I hope this process brings folks back to reality.

  23. Phattey

    Jeanie bout to be like “you said you wanted to meet with me and rob?”

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