The Los Angeles Lakers shocked plenty of people around the NBA when they traded away former second overall pick D’Angelo Russell, along with Timofey Mozgov, to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Brook Lopez and a first-round draft pick that turned into Kyle Kuzma.
The news caught many off guard as even though Russell had some issues in his two years in Los Angeles, there was little doubt about his talent. Nonetheless, Magic Johnson made it clear as to why he felt the need to move on from Russell.
Russell is now ready to move on from his time with the Lakers and fulfill his potential with the Nets. He recently appeared on WFAN with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts and spoke about his initial feelings when he found out about the trade (transcription via Nets Daily):
“I was excited. I was excited to get a new opportunity to start over, but it definitely caught me off guard. You see guys get traded you never think it would have to be you until it does. New step for me.”
Russell’s comments about being excited to hear about the deal is an interesting one as it would seem to suggest that he was ready to leave the Lakers. Russell admitted to being unsure about his future with the team once Magic Johnson took over and it’s possible he was simply happy to not have that hanging over his head anymore.
Now in Brooklyn, Russell will have the opportunity to be the top player on a young, up and coming team. Meanwhile the Lakers have moved on to Lonzo Ball who’s outstanding passing and leadership is something the Lakers believed they were missing.
Without a doubt it will certainly be interesting to see the atmosphere when Russell returns to Staples Center next season. He won’t have to wait long either as the Nets come to Los Angeles on November 3.