In an interview with Bleacher Report, Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell states his trade out of Los Angeles was best for his career.
It’s been almost two years since the Los Angeles Lakers gave up on (then) 21-year old guard D’Angelo Russell.
Team president Magic Johnson traded him to the Brooklyn Nets, claiming he wasn’t the leader Los Angeles needed:
Magic Johnson on D’Angelo Russell: "We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader.” Full quote: pic.twitter.com/3FhPthOpN1
— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) June 23, 2017
Two seasons later, and after signing the world’s greatest player, the Lakers still don’t have that leader. And Russell? He’s not looking back.
In an interview with Leo Sepkowitz of Bleacher Report, the All-Star guard claims the trade to Brooklyn was the best thing for his career:
“If [the Lakers] didn’t let me go then, they were gonna let me go now, and I’d be going through what they’re going through. Best thing that happened in my career.”
The Los Angeles Lakers are looking like a team that’s going to have to fight for a playoff spot. While the Nets seem to be a shoo-in at sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles front office was in intensive talks to trade most of the team’s young core for New Orleans’ Anthony Davis. But, a trade never materialized.
It’s caused for an uncomfortable locker room power struggle, and has made a noticeable impact on the team’s performance. Russell, when asked, says he can’t imagine still playing in LA:
“I can’t imagine what they’re trying to block out,”
Los Angeles is coming off a crushing 117-113 loss to the rebuilding Atlanta Hawks. There’s been no sign of Lonzo Ball, the player who Los Angeles essentially chose over Russell.
Brooklyn is set to face off with the East’s 11th-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night ahead of the All-Star break. Should they beat the inferior Cavs squad, the Nets will enter the weekend with a 30-29 record.
That’s two games better than James and the Lakers. It appears Russell may be right about his current situation.
While the trade has assuredly put him in this position, he still gave the most credit to Brooklyn’s front office:
“This organization has done an even better job of accepting me for me, and letting me be who I am.”
Ahead of All-Star weekend, Russell’s got his eyes on larger prizes, and an even brighter future. Not his past with Los Angeles.
“I am where my feet are,” he says. “There’s a reason I’m here, a reason I’m waking up, and this is what I see.”
D’Angelo Russell is averaging 20.0 points, 6.6 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. Tip-off for the team’s final game before All-Star weekend is at 7:00 p.m. ET.