The move comes just before the final game of a disastrous Lakers season, in which the team recruited LeBron James and then failed to make the playoffs. Johnson told reporters that he was stepping down before informing Jeanie Buss, the controlling owner of the team.
In a press conference, Johnson told reporters he was tired of the “backstabbing” that came with the job, and was annoyed by tampering rules that made it hard for him to communicate with players from other teams.
“I think I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and the ambassador to everybody,” Johnson he said. “I had more fun on the other side than on this side… I want to go back to having fun. I want to go back to being who I was before taking this job.”
Johnson took the job in February 2017, as general manager Mitch Kupchak was fired and Jim Buss was removed as executive vice president of basketball operations.
ESPN reported earlier on Tuesday that Johnson had not spoken to head coach Luke Walton in weeks.
“I hope that after tomorrow, the Lakers can head in the right direction, which we are,” Johnson said.