Magic Johnson’s biggest task will be to give Lonzo Ball — who is averaging 12 points, 10.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 3.3 steals in his past three games — superstars to pass to. The Lakers will try to add two stars this summer when LeBron James is expected to headline the free agency class, and Worthy thinks his old point guard will not come up empty-handed. “You look at what Magic Johnson has been able to do throughout his basketball career, [and] in his post-basketball career, he’s been able to manifest pretty good deals,” the former Lakers great said. “When Magic is in the room, that is a major asset trying to recruit. “With Kobe [Bryant] gone and the young core players that we have, and I think players understand and see what Lonzo Ball brings to the table as a point guard, I really think we are in a good place and I think [Johnson] will be able to deliver next year.”
Clay Bailey: Let’s do some notes and quotes since the Grizzlies won and Zach Randolph came back to town. “It’s emotional, man. It’s a great feeling,” said Randolph, who finished with four points and six rebounds. “It’s home for me. I love the people, and I love this city.”
Peter Edmiston: I asked Marc Gasol if he got emotional watching the ZBo tribute video: “Yes. Yes, I did. And I remember every single play. I got goosebumps when I saw it. He’s a special guy. He’s such a joyful, caring, giving guy.”
Clay Bailey: “It was great. It was beautiful. All the fans did a great job of showing Z-Bo how much he meant to the city and the franchise. “Z-bo got the big night, and we got a great win.” — Marc Gasol on Randolph’s return to Memphis.
He peppers teammates with advice on the bench, with standout Nikola Jokic noting Jefferson can say “one or two sentences just to kind of wake me up.” Jefferson challenges youngsters like Malik Beasley with post moves during pick-up games following practices or shootarounds. He speaks up in the locker room, with Malone particularly recalling Jefferson’s pointed message about a lack of physicality following a December loss at New Orleans that helped carry the Nuggets through their longest road trip to date. “I have no problem being the bad guy, and I’ll say what I have to say,” Malone said. “But when a peer says it, I think it carries that much more weight.”