During his bizarre exit from the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson spoke about Brooklyn Nets All-Star D’Angelo Russell.
Magic Johnson shocked the NBA world by spontaneously resigning as Los Angeles Lakers team president. The organization was an absolute dumpster fire as a result of awful personnel moves made by Magic.
One of those moves involved trading D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets to clear salary cap space. Adding insult to injury, at the time, Magic said he traded Russell because the team needed a “leader.”
“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,” Johnson said at the time of the trade, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN. “I needed somebody that also can make the other players better and also (somebody) that players want to play with.”
While he was holding an impromptu press conference to resign, Magic spoke about why Russell developed into an All-Star.
Magic Johnson on D'Angelo Russell: "He always had the talent to score but he was immature." pic.twitter.com/vlygdMRjOQ
— Chris Montano (@gswchris) April 10, 2019
“You had to give up a really talented young player in D’Angelo Russell,” Magic said, “and congratulations to him—I couldn’t even say that, but now I can say it. Also, we saw D’Angelo mature. He wasn’t matured like he is now. He always had the talent to score, but he was immature and now he’s grown up and that’s why he’s an All-Star.”
Isn’t it ironic to hear Magic preach about maturity? He just quit his job without telling his boss. What a joke. Perhaps Russell just needed to play for an organization with a front office that actually knew what it was doing.
The Lakers are a complete mess right now despite having the second overall pick in the draft three times since 2015. Furthermore, they signed LeBron James and had dreams of winning a championship. Instead, they’re going to be watching the playoffs at home.
Meanwhile, the Nets haven’t had a lottery pick since 2010 and are on their way to the playoffs. This is due in large part to Russell’s emergence as an All-Star point guard.
Magic was correct in saying the Lakers “needed a leader.” Clearly, he wasn’t the right man for the job.