What if: Kobe and Shaq and Magic
Latrell Sprewell and Chris Webber on the Bullets?
Magic Johnson unretired in 1996, returning to a 24-18 Los Angeles Lakers club in the middle of its season. The Lakers won 29 of 40 games with Magic but suffered through all manner of indignity as the 36-year old struggled to get on with his younger teammates, many he’d bossed around during an ill-starred attempt at interim head coaching two years earlier.
With Magic at sixth man the 1995-96 Lakers fell meekly in the first round to the Houston Rockets, Magic retired (for a third time) soon after and the Lakers were mostly fine with it.
Weeks later the Lakers initiated the 1996 offseason trading Vlade Divac for Kobe Bryant, setting a cap clearing stance that trimmed the roster and led to the acquisition of Shaquille O’Neal. Magic was thisclose to playing alongside Kobe, and Shaq.
Later that summer, Magic wanted to get a little closer.
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