D’Angelo Russell isn’t worried about what Magic Johnson has to say about his leadership abilities.
The former Los Angeles Lakers point guard was introduced as the newest member of the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, and when he was asked about the Hall of Famer’s critique of him, he elected to turn the page.
“It is good to be here,” Russell said, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “Can’t really control that, what they say, I’m gone. So it’s the past. I am here now. It’s irrelevant, honestly.”
The Lakers traded Russell, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, along with center Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for Brook Lopez and the No. 27 overall selection in the 2017 draft.
On Thursday, the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick to replace Russell as the point guard of the future. During Ball’s introductory press conference Friday, Johnson explained why he moved on from Russell.
“D’Angelo is an excellent player,” Johnson said. “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 that players want to play with.”
Russell heads from one rebuilding project to another, but he’s ready to prove that he can be a leader in Brooklyn.
“Wherever they put me, I am going to take advantage of it to the fullest, and that’s me being the leader right away,” Russell said. “I am looking forward to the challenge. You saying my leadership is being questioned, this is an opportunity to make the best out of it.”
Russell averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists for the Lakers last season.
Thumbnail photo via Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports Images