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D'Angelo Russell: Magic Johnson 'Kicked Me in My Ass' After Trade from Lakers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' D'Angelo Russell reacts to a play during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell was not a fan of Magic Johnson's comments after the Los Angeles Lakers traded him to the Brooklyn Nets in 2017.

That was the first of three times Russell has been traded in his career, as the Nets moved him to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade before the Warriors eventually traded him to the Timberwolves.

Russell was asked if he took those moves personally during an appearance on The Old Man and The Three Podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter (around three minutes into the video) and said: "Only L.A. because Magic kicked me in my ass on the way out. I didn't understand that. I was kind of young and naive to why and what was the point, but I mean, it is what it is."

As for the other trades, the Ohio State product said he had a "blast" with Brooklyn, while Golden State was "open" and "honest with me from day one" while explaining he did not take those ones personally.

Johnson, who was the Lakers' president of basketball operations in 2017, said the team needed leaders after moving Russell.

"D'Angelo is an excellent player," Johnson said, per ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes. "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 [somebody] that players want to play with."

It must have motivated Russell, as he was an All-Star in his second season in Brooklyn and posted a career-best 23.1 points per game in 2019-20 with Golden State and Minnesota.

He is now part of the Timberwolves' bright future alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 NBA draft.

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