NBA News Roundup, Thursday, April 11th: Marcus Smart injury update, Top prospect declares for NBA draft and more
Last night bought an end to the NBA regular season. During an emotional night Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki both stepped away from the game, while the Detroit Pistons became the final team to qualify for the postseason.
Due to the impending 2019 playoffs, and the upcoming draft, there is no shortage of stories emerging from around the NBA, and here is all you need to know for April 11th.
LeBron left stunned by Magic Johnson's departure
On Tuesday, Magic Johnson surprised the basketball world as he announced his deperature from the Lakers ahead of the team's final game of the season.
Johnson had been the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers since replacing Jim Buss in the role two years ago, and Johnson played a major role in bringing LeBron James to the franchise last summer.
Neverthless, ESPN is reporting that James himself was blindsided by Johnson's shock announcement ahead of the Lakers' defeat to the Trail Blazers:
LeBron James was stunned to learn of Magic Johnson's decision to step down as the Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations, a source with knowledge of James' thinking told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne on Wednesday.
Johnson offered no indication that he was on the brink of leaving the team, sources said. Johnson said he did not tell James about his decision to leave before making his announcement, either. Despite Johnson's abrupt resignation, James stands behind Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and the organization, the source told Shelburne.
Despite Johnson's departure, general manager Rob Pelinka is expected to remain in Los Angeles. The Lakers also have a big decision to make on the future of Luke Walton, as the team has posted a losing record during all three of his seasons in charge.