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Russell on Magic’s Leadership Comments: ‘I would say it ruffled a few feathers’

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Less than two hours before he faced his old team for the first time, Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell admitted Friday that he was irked by comments Lakers team president Magic Johnson made this summer about Russell’s leadership, or lack thereof.

In June, Johnson explained why the Lakers traded Russell to Brooklyn and drafted Lonzo Ball, saying the team “needed a leader” and someone who also “can make the other players better.”

“I would say it ruffled a few feathers,” Russell said before the Nets played the Lakers on Friday for the first time since the summer trade. “But you control what you can control. He’s in a position to say what he wants, so I just try to do what I can do at the end of the day.

Just days before the draft, the Lakers shipped Russell, who was their No. 2 overall pick in 2015, and Timofey Mozgovto Brooklyn for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick. The Lakers then drafted rookie Kyle Kuzma, who started his first game Friday in place of an injured Larry Nance Jr. (broken hand).

Russell had previously downplayed Johnson’s comments and declined to respond despite being asked about it repeatedly, including at his introductory news conference in Brooklyn this summer.

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Report: Jimmy Butler to Undergo MRI on Right Knee

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Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Jimmy Butler left Friday night’s 120-102 lossto the Houston Rockets with a right knee injury.

Butler drove into the paint with about three minutes remaining in the third quarter, missed a short jumper, but then clawed the rebound. He dished to a teammate, then crumpled to the floor in pain, holding his knee.

Teammates, coaches and athletic trainers tended to Butler, who had to be helped off the court. He was unable to put any weight on the leg as he was helped to the locker room, where he was evaluated.

Butler was seen hopping on one foot in the Toyota Center hallway as he headed to get an X-ray. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday when the team gets back to Minnesota.

Source: ESPN

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Sources: Multiple Teams Interested in Joakim Noah if Bought Out

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According to league sources, several playoff-bound teams are closely monitoring [Joakim] Noah’s situation in New York and would push to sign him if Noah becomes a free agent.

The Warriors, Timberwolves and Thunder are three such teams that believe Noah, who turns 33 on Sunday, could bolster their respective rosters for the postseason.

Minnesota is an obvious one since it would reunite Noah with his former coach with the Chicago Bulls, Tom Thibodeau. Golden State and Oklahoma City also feel that Noah’s experience and defensive prowess would solidify their respective benches.

Noah remains in limbo following an altercation with Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek last month in Denver.

Source: Frank Isola of the New York Daily News

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Sources: Hawks, Ersan Ilyasova Nearing Buyout, Multiple Teams Interested

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Atlanta Hawks nearing a buyout with Ersan Ilyasova, I’m told.

Milwaukee and Toronto among possibilities for an Ersan Ilyasova landing spot once Hawks buyout is complete, but sense is it could open to other teams too.

Source: Sam Amick on Twitter

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