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Magic Johnson says Lakers might need a trade to liven up roster

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson said Tuesday he agreed with general manager Mitch Kupchak that the NBA champions might benefit from making a deal to add energy to the team.

"Unfortunately we're looking old and we're playing old," Johnson told ESPN.com. "We're not responding to the more athletic teams and the quicker teams.

"So we must change something. I think we have to now look at this team and maybe say we're not good enough. Things might have to change."

Kupchak expressed concern about the state of the Lakers after the two-time defending champions lost at home Sunday to the Boston Celtics, who fell in seven games to Los Angeles in last season's NBA Finals and beat them in six games for the 2007-08 title.

Asked if the team's recent poor play could move him to shake up the roster, Kupchak told NBA.com Monday: "Regarding a trade, I may have to. I'm not saying that I've made calls today or I'll make them tomorrow.

"But I just don't think that we're playing as well as our talent level should allow us."

The Lakers are 33-15, 7.5 games behind the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs (40-7). They are 6-4 in their last 10 games and have lost two in a row.

Since Christmas, the Lakers have lost to the Miami Heat by 16, the Spurs by 15, the Dallas Mavericks by nine and the Celtics by 13.

"We have to do something," said Johnson, also a former coach and minority owner of the club. "The Lakers are not responding and two things showed me that -- the Miami Heat Christmas game and then the Boston Celtics game (on Sunday).

"When you don't get up for your two biggest games during the season and you have flat performances, then you have to start looking at trade possibilities to improve the team and bring some energy to the team."

Kupchak agreed the club was not clicking.

"I try to be as objective as possible, but I'm concerned," he said. "Our record is certainly OK. But we've lost a bunch of home games. We've lost a couple of big games at home and to me, those are red flags."

The Lakers were playing the Rockets Tuesday at Staples Center and hosting the Spurs Thursday before launching a seven-game road trip.

(Writing by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Steve Ginsburg)

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