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Magic Johnson on Russell: ‘what I needed was a leader’

Basketball Insiders

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Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin “Magic” Johnson didn’t mince words when asked about why they traded point guard D’Angelo Russell — the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft — to the Brooklyn Nets this week.

“D’Angelo is an excellent player,” Johnson said Friday, when the team introduced its top draft pick Lonzo Ball at its practice facility. “He has the talent to be an All-Star. We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader. I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also [somebody] that players want to play with.”

The Lakers traded Russell and center Timofey Mozgov to the Nets in exchange for Brooklyn center Brook Lopez and the No. 27 overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

Source: Baxter Holmes of ESPN

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Indiana Pacers and Jarrod Uthoff Agree To Deal

Michael Scotto

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The Indiana Pacers and free agent forward Jarrod Uthoff have agreed to a one-year, partially guaranteed deal, a league source told Basketball Insiders.

Uthoff, who shot 46 percent from beyond the arc in the G-league last year before being called up by the Dallas Mavericks, gives Indiana 20 players heading into training camp.

Uthoff passed on EuroLeague offers as well as offers from three other NBA teams, Basketball Insiders has learned.

The 24-year-old forward averaged 4.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game while playing in nine games for the Mavericks last season.

For more information on Indiana’s salary cap and roster situation, click here.

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Sources: Wiggins, Wolves Nearing Max Extension

Basketball Insiders

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Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins is progressing toward a five-year, $148M maximum extension, hopeful to sign soon, sources tell The Vertical.

Source: Shams Charania of The Vertical

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Source: Markieff Morris Expected to Miss a Month

Basketball Insiders

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Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris is expected to miss approximately one month following surgery for a sports hernia, a source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Morris had participated in his normal offseason workout routine before experiencing pain late in the summer. The surgery’s delay, according to the Washington Post, is a result of an ongoing aggravated assault trial involving his twin brother Marcus Morris, as well as other family obligations.

Morris, 28, averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season for a Wizards team that fell one game shy of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.

Source: ESPN

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