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

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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