Pat Riley says Lakers 'never pursued' him about a front-office job, admits he's thought about return to Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Lakers' offseason began with a bang when Magic Johnson abruptly left his post as the president of basketball operations.

Some expected the franchise to turn to an old friend in this time of crisis in the form of Pat Riley. In a recent interview with ESPN's Jackie MacMullan, Riley admitted that he would've entertained the idea of returning to Los Angeles, but the Lakers "never pursued" him.

"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, 74, certainly does have a history with the Lakers over the years. After all, the current Miami Heat team president led the Lakers to four NBA titles in the 1980s when he was the team's head coach. His final championship came in 1988 when he led the Lakers past the Detroit Pistons in a seven-game series.

Johnson and Riley certainly have always had a connection since Johnson played under Riley on those championship teams in Los Angeles. In fact, Riley had nothing but praise for Johnson following his recent comments on ESPN's "First Take" about current Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

"Surprised by his comments? No, not at all," Riley said. "I'll tell you about Earvin -- and it's what I love about him, but also what I have cautioned him about -- he's going to speak his mind. If that's how he felt, that's how he felt.

"He's not going to leave a hanging curveball out there about backstabbing and whispering. He manned up today. That's who 'Buck' is. He would never tolerate that. He never has tolerated that."

It appears that the Lakers are planning to move forward with Pelinka as their general manager despite a strong amount of turmoil. While it doesn't look like it'll happen, seeing Riley return to Los Angeles would've been an interesting situation.

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