Magic Johnson takes veiled shot at Russell: ‘What I needed was a leader’

Posted: 30/06/2017 in NBA, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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The Los Angeles Lakers have their point guard of the future after selecting UCLA product Lonzo Ball in Thursday’s NBA draft – a move that made D’Angelo Russell expendable days prior.

While introducing Ball to the media, Lakers president Magic Johnson thanked Russell for his two years with the organization, but acknowledged that he wasn’t the right guy to lead the team.

“I’m going to do what it takes to get the right players in here with the right mindset. D’Angelo (Russell) is an excellent player. He has the talent to be an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us,” Johnson said Friday, according to the Los Angeles Daily News’ Mark Medina. “But what I needed was a leader. I needed somebody that also can make the other players better and also (somebody) that players want to play with.”

Russell, along with the $54 million remaining on Timofey Mozgov‘s contract, were sent to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick, which was used on Utah’s Kyle Kuzma.

During his short tenure with the Lakers, Russell’s character and maturity were brought into question on multiple occasions, including an incident in which he secretly recorded Nick Young confessing to cheating on his now ex-fiancee, musician Iggy Azalea.

Russell was essentially a shooting guard masquerading as a point guard, anyway, with Ball’s skills more suited to running an offense and promoting ball movement.

“He (Ball) gives you a scoring pass. That’s the key. Not just a pass. One that you can score. All our players are gonna be excited,” added Johnson, according to Mike Trudell‏ of Lakers.com.

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