After rocky road in LA, Russell seeks smooth start with Nets

After rocky road in LA, Russell seeks smooth start with Nets

After rocky road in LA, Russell seeks smooth start with Nets

In wake of the decision last week to move guard D'Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets after two seasons, Magic Johnson, who is now the Los Angeles Lakers' president of basketball operations, made it clear that the former second overall pick didn't reach the organization's expectations as a leader.

The Nets introduced Russell and center Timofey Mozgov in a news conference at their training facility, having acquired the pair in the deal last week that sent center Brook Lopez and a draft pick to Los Angeles.

"What I needed was a leader", Johnson said.

D'Angelo Russell's first move as a Brooklyn Net was taking the high road.

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"I can't really control that, and what they say", Russell said. I can't control [what Johnson said]... I am here now.

"Wherever they put me, I am going to take advantage of it to the fullest and that's me being the leader right away".

"I didn't look at it as a negative", he said. "You saying my leadership is being questioned, this is an opportunity to make the best out of it".

Seeing Magic say that he didn't believe Russell could be a leader is certainly a strong statement. Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said he "loves the talent" Russell provides after averaging 15.6 points on 40.5 percent shooting and 4.8 assists last season with the Lakers. "I can't wait to get in the gym with these guys and learn from them".

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Sean Marks, the Nets' general manager, knows he will now need to be creative in building the roster back to respectability, and he sees Russell as a piece of the puzzle. Apart from the combination of their names that well represents the team, "Brook-Lin", the two were able to deliver an impressive team leadership that pushed the Brooklyn Nets into a successful showing at the final quarter of the past National Basketball Association season. "So again, I'm going to bet on this group, from Kenny, the coaching staff, they've done a terrific, terrific job of developing these guys".

"I think he is aware this is a new chapter for him and in a sense he does get to start over".

Russell said the trade surprised him. His salary dump for Los Angeles was the primary motive behind the trade. "I feel like wherever I go, I will make it home". "Everybody's going to question what happened in the past with the whole Nick Young so forth, but I'm not really concerned about that". "I think I have showed it".

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