D'Angelo Russell on Magic Johnson's leadership comments
D'Angelo Russell on Magic Johnson's leadership comments
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
05 November, 2017, 11:34
For Lopez, his performance for the Lakers against the Brooklyn Nets was not about revenge, and it was nothing special.
D'Angelo Russell has admitted that Magic Johnson's comments about his leadership ability bothered him more than he tried to let on. The Lakers traded Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets, in exchange for Lopez and the 27th pick (used to select Kyle Kuzma) in the 2017 NBA Draft. "So just to overcome that, I salute myself for that".
The other focal point will be Lopez facing his old team after becoming the franchise's all-time leading scorer across nine years. But the North Hollywood native will be a free agent next summer, and the Nets shipped him home after he put up 20.5 points per game last season.
All of this seemingly became a part of the decision to move on Russell after only two years in the league in favor of moving forward with rookie point guard Lonzo Ball as the new face of the team. "It's just the way our league works". Meanwhile, coach Kenny Atkinson insists he isn't anxious about Russell getting too hyped up to stick it to his former organization. Some of those 3s, I was yelling at my coaches, 'Why is he shooting that?' And he was making them, so we left him in. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 21 for the Nets, who have lost four straight.
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Before the Nets fell to the Lakers 124-122, Russell addressed the comment for the first time and said Johnson "ruffled a few feathers". "He's in a position to say what he wants, so I just try to do what I can do at the end of the day".
That said, Russell has a prime opportunity to prove that he cannot only step into but also excel in a leadership role with the Nets this season and possibly well beyond that. Lopez tallied a game-high 34 points as he shot 13-of-23 from the field which included six three-pointers.
Nets: Visit the Phoenix Suns on Monday. They have a chance to reach the.500 mark when they host the Memphis Grizzlies.
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