How Magic Johnson and the Lakers landed LeBron James

LeBron James didn’t really need to be pitched anything. For the most part, it seems like he already knew everything there was to know about the Lakers when he met with Magic Johnson the minute after free agency began July 1.

A television interview with Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka that aired on Spectrum in Los Angeles revealed part of the sometimes awkward dance surrounding James’ free agency. The Lakers had prepared for those meetings for “four, five or six months.”

The team was so eager to get James that Johnson was an hour early to the meeting and sat in his car waiting until it started.

“LeBron is just one of the smartest basketball players I’ve ever met, along with Kobe and Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, those type of dudes who … it wasn’t to sell the Lakers … he didn’t [need] to hear that. He already knew the team. Almost better than I did. He broke the roster down right in front of me,” Johnson said.

“We’d been going through so many scenarios, also meeting with Jeanie [Buss], talking about what we thought would be important. Then I just was supposed to be there at 9:01 so I got there at 8:01, so I was going to sit out there for an hour until it was time to go up

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