Byron Scott and Magic Johnson are longtime friends, a bond generated when they were teammates for three championship runs.
But Johnson made Scott's life a little more difficult Tuesday.
"I hope the Lakers lose every game because if you're going to lose, lose. I'm serious," Johnson said at a promotional event in New York, according to Newsday. "If you're going to lose, you have to lose, because you can't be in the middle of the pack. You either have to be great or you have to be bad to get a good pick."
Johnson is an unpaid vice president for the Lakers.
Scott laughed it off before the Lakers played the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center.
"That's easy to say that but when you're behind the scenes and when you're in the trenches and you're coaching, that's not something that you want to do," said Scott, in his first season as the Lakers' coach. "I don't think our players look at it that way. We've got to try to go out there and win every game possible. If we lose games, it's one thing. But to go out and try to lose, that's a different story. And I think that sends a message to those guys in there that, again, it's going back to that losing mentality. We don't want to create that here."
Scott was asked whether he would send Johnson a text. "Yeah. LOL."
As Scott's pregame interview ended, he added, "I've got to call Magic." He was smiling.
Until that point, he kept fielding questions about Johnson's comments. The Lakers (5-16) retain their draft pick only if it is among the top five after the lottery in May. If not, they owe it to Phoenix for the Steve Nash trade.
"I know 'Earv' and how competitive he is, and I understand where he's coming from: Lose every game and hopefully you get the No. 1 pick," Scott said. "That doesn't guarantee that you're going to get the No. 1 pick. Go out here and try to win as much as you can to try to create that culture of winning again instead of having that losing mentality. That's how I look at it."
Johnson was at Scott's introductory news conference in July, a show of support the Lakers made the right move by hiring Scott.
Scott says he hasn't spoken to Johnson in a while. He said he wasn't worried that Johnson's comments would become a motto for the season.
"That's really kind of the last thing I'm worried about right now, is fans saying 'Lose every game' because Magic said it," Scott said.