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Riley: Lakers didn’t reach out to fill president role

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Riley shot down rumors that Jeanie Buss pursued him to join the Lakers’ front office.

Orlando Magic v Miami Heat Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

A month ago, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said that Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was looking to make a splash to fill the President of Basketball Operations role left vacant by Magic Johnson’s abrupt resignation. Smith added that he’s heard Pat Riley’s name mentioned as a possibility.

Riley spoke with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullin Monday — after Johnson joined First Take, the ESPN program Smith co-hosts. Johnson said that Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka betrayed him.

And according to Riley, no one from the Lakers contacted him about the President of Basketball Operaitons role — one that won’t be filled.

“I have thought [about returning to the Lakers] only from a sentimental standpoint,” Riley said. “But I was never pursued by them. Nobody officially contacted me. I have about 20 friends wishing I would come back, but nobody asked.

Riley also had his own thoughts on the adversity facing the Lakers.

“But this kind of s--- goes on in organizations every day,” Riley says. “The organization gets too big, there are too many people who have been around a long time, and they start voicing their opinion about things, and that’s when the culture starts to crack.

”Maybe Earvin’s honesty will do something to get [the Lakers] thinking.”