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Thursday, February 6, 2014
Magic Johnson offers help to Lakers

ESPN.com news services

Always the businessman, Magic Johnson is ready to do whatever it takes to sell the Los Angeles Lakers to free agents and help the team return to its banner days.

Earvin
Lakers great Magic Johnson said he's willing to do whatever it takes to help his former employers get back to their winning ways.

But Johnson said the ball is in the court of owner Jim Buss, general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Mike D'Antoni to make that happen.

"I've been in a lot of different things with the Lakers, but it's up to them -- Jim, Mitch, Coach D'Antoni -- to decide who they want," Johnson told reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times, on Wednesday. "Once they make their decision, they say, 'Hey, Earvin, can you put in a call to so-and-so?'"

Johnson, who was introduced as part of the new ownership group for the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday, has some ideas of what the Lakers need to do to get back to their winning ways, including trading Pau Gasol, who will be a free agent after this season.

After that, he'll start making recruiting pitches, if asked, to any free agents deemed targets by the Lakers' front office.

"I've done that in the past," Johnson told reporters. "I told Mitch Kupchak that last week. First they have to make up their mind on who they want, and then they tell me, just like I recruited Ron Artest, I talked to Lamar Odom."

In 2012, Johnson teamed with a group of investors to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from embattled owner Frank McCourt for a record $2.15 billion.