Among the many things Magic Johnson had to say Tuesday night as he announced his stunning resignation as Lakers president, he addressed the emergence of D'Angelo Russell as an All-Star for the Nets.
Russell, whom the Lakers selected No. 2 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft, was traded by Johnson to the Nets in June of 2017.
"We had to give up a really talented young player in D'Angelo Russell. And congratulations to him," Johnson said during his impromptu press conference. "We saw D'Angelo mature. He wasn't mature like he is now. He always had the talent to score, but he was immature. And now he's grown up, and that's why he's an All-Star."
Johnson took some not-so-subtle shots at Russell after trading him two years ago, praising his talent but criticizing him for a lack of certain qualities Johnson desired.
"D'Angelo is an excellent player. 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," Johnson said in 2017 after the trade. "I needed somebody also that can make the other players better and also (somebody) that players want to play with."
The 23-year-old has become a star for Brooklyn and has helped accelerate its rebuild, culminating with a playoff berth this season. Russell became an All-Star for the first time this season, his fourth in the NBA and his second with the Nets, and is averaging career-highs with 21.1 points per game, seven assists per game and a 43.4 shooting percentage.
The Lakers, meanwhile, missed the playoffs for the sixth straight season despite signing LeBron James, and now Johnson has left the organization in chaos.