D'Angelo Russell Says Magic Johnson's 'Leader' Comments 'Ruffled Feathers'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 5: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets making his first come back to Staples Center is guarded by Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of a basketball game at Staples Center November 5 2017, in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Brooklyn Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell said offseason comments from Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson "ruffled a few feathers" following his trade from L.A.

Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com passed along remarks Russell made Friday about Johnson, who said the Lakers "needed a leader" and a guard who could "make the other players better."

"I would say it ruffled a few feathers," Russell said before facing L.A. "But you control what you can control. 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."

Russell, the second overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft, was traded to Brooklyn in June as part of a deal that sent Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma to the Lakers.

L.A. once again owned the No. 2 selection this year and chose fellow point guard Lonzo Ball as its new franchise cornerstone following a standout freshman campaign at UCLA.

Russell outplayed Ball in their first head-to-head meeting by putting up 17 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and three steals—albeit on 8-of-24 shooting and 1-of-8 from three with four turnovers. Ball tallied six points, making just three of his 15 shots, to go along with seven dimes, five boards and two steals.

The Lakers scored the 124-112 win at Staples Center, however, thanks in large part to 55 combined points from Lopez (34) and Kuzma (21).

Russell responded "of course" when asked Friday whether he believed in his leadership abilities and commented further about his time in Los Angeles.

"I went through a lot when I was here," he said. "It's nothing I could really control. It was out of my hands by that point [when he was traded]. "I went through a lot—Kobe's farewell, everything. ... So just to overcome that, I salute myself for that."

Russell is off to a solid start with the Nets following the trade. He's averaging 21.1 points, 5.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds across eight appearances.