Record: 39-43, fifth place in Pacific Division
Magic Johnson said he would return to the Lakers for 1992-93, but after playing with the team throughout the exhibition season, he retired again, citing personal reasons. Some felt he was bothered by the reception of some NBA players, who said they were worried about the risk of exposure by playing against an HIV-positive player.
Also before the season, Coach Mike Dunleavy left to become head coach and vice president of basketball operations for the Milwaukee Bucks. Some Lakers fans viewed Dunleavy's departure as an act of desertion, and still have yet to forgive him for turning his back on the Lakers, who promoted longtime assistant Randy Pfund to the head coaching role.
The Lakers finished the campaign at 39-43, barely earning the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Playoffs: The Lakers faced the top-seeded, Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs. The Lakers stunned Phoenix by opening the series with two straight road victories. But Phoenix won both games in Los Angeles, forcing a deciding Game 5 back in Phoenix. The Lakers forced Game 5 into overtime before losing, 112-104.
Western Conference first round
- Lakers 107, at Phoenix 103
- Lakers 86, at Phoenix 81
- Phoenix 107, at Lakers 102
- Phoenix 101, at Lakers 86
- at Phoenix 112, Lakers 104 (OT)