Magic Johnson opened up about the Lakers organization’s choice to ship D’Angelo Russell off in order to make room for Lonzo Ball, during L.A.’s introductory press conference on Friday, June 23.
“We want to thank him for what he did for us. But what I needed was a leader,” Magic said, speaking straight and definitively, yet cutting deep in the perception of some. “I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also, somebody that players want to play with.” His mention of players wanting to share the floor with Russell is likely a reference to the falling out Russell had with the team when he leaked a video of teammate Nick Young admitting too infidelity back when he was dating Iggy Azalea back in 2016.
Russell was traded to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in the NBA Draft, last Tuesday. Magic has had nothing but wonderful things to say about Lonzo since, calling him “the new face of the Lakers.”