Staples Center, Los Angeles. Magic Johnson, head of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, has reportedly reached a secret deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers sending NBA superstar LeBron James back to Cleveland before the end of the current season.
Rumors of dissension on the Laker team have dominated sports news here since the start of the season. "It's pretty hard having to play second fiddle to one of basketball's greatest players ever, and the other guys somewhat resent LeBron's prominence. We'd be winning more games if he was just another one of us," lamented an unidentified player who usually rides the bench.
"I haven't heard of an impending trade, and our offensive plays are all built around LeBron. I doubt that Magic has even talked about a trade with Cleveland," was coach Luke Walton's response when told of the impending deal.
Fans who welcomed the coming of James are now ambivalent. If he leaves L.. A. and the team misses the playoffs, Johnson may be the next Laker to go.