MAR 8, 2017 10:53 AM
Magic Johnson fielded a call from Vlade Divac about the Los Angeles Lakers potential interest in trading for DeMarcus Cousins when the Sacramento Kings were looking to deal him.
Johnson said he wasn't empowered to make that type of decision and referred Divac to Mitch Kupchak. Johnson never heard another word from the Lakers' front office even when they engaged in trade talks with the Kings on Sunday, February 19th before Cousins was dealt.
Divac believed he had a narrow window to trade Cousins and had to act quickly. Kings' ownership had given approval for a Cousins' trade involving Buddy Hield and Brandon Ingram.
Divac and the New Orleans Pelicans had met four or five times in person by the time the Lakers got involved. Divac was negotiating over the phone with Jim Buss and Kupchak despite the fact Johnson was in New Orleans that weekend.
Jeanie Buss had previously instructed Kupchak and her brother that she was to be consulted if they discussed trades involving any of the Lakers' three recent lottery picks.
Jeanie Buss only received work about the talks which involved two of those three lottery picks after Jim Buss called Jess Buss and pressed him for a recommendation. The offer also would quickly expire. Jesse Buss tried to text Jeanie Buss, but the deadline was fast approaching and the Kings finalized the Cousins' deal with the Pelicans before her and Johnson even knew about the Lakers' attempts.
The lack of communication on the Cousins trade reinforced why she had already made her decision to fire Kupchak and Jim Buss.