Magic Johnson told reporters Tuesday that "like five teams" called the Lakers about D'Angelo Russell before he agreed to deal the 21-year-old to Brooklyn two days before the Draft.
As Ohm Youngmisuk reported, Johnson said the Nets offered the best deal and he had no regrets about the move once it was done...
Magic Johnson was asked if it was hard to move on after trading D'Angelo Russell. "I am not one of them dudes," the Lakers president of basketball operations replied. "When I say bye, that's it. I keep moving. I can't get caught in emotions and all that. That is not who I am. We moved and we kept moving. After that trade we went on to the next thing." Johnson added, "Like five teams called for D'Angelo [so] we knew that we could move D'Angelo for one of the pieces that we were looking for. So we decided on Brooklyn, they got a great player in D'Angelo and we got what we wanted."
The Nets sent Brook Lopez and the 27th pick (Kyle Kuzma) in the Draft to L.A. for Russell and Timofey Mozgov. The Lakers top priority in any deal was getting Mozgov's huge contract —$48 million remaining over three years— off their books. Once they were assured of the No. 2 pick in the Draft back in May, the Lakers knew they'd have a choice of top guards who could replace Russell.
After the trade, Johnson compared Russell unfavorably to Lonzo Ball. He implied Russell was not a leader and immature.
While Johnson said he had no emotional attachment to Russell, Nets expressed remorse about having to move Lopez. "It was very hard. It was very hard. It was very hard," Kenny Atkinson told SB Nation's Kristian Winfield last week.
Johnson made his comments at a press conference welcoming Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who the Nets had hoped to pair with Russell.
- Lakers News: Magic Johnson says he doesn’t regret trading D’Angelo Russell - Harrison Faigen - Silver Screen and Roll