Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson’s decision to trade D’Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets is going to be debated for a long time.
On one hand, the Lakers were able to generate tons of cap space for the 2018 offseason by shedding Timofey Mozgov’s gargantuan contract, but on the other hand they gave up on one of their most potential-laden young players.
It will be impossible to decide whether or not the trade was the right move until seeing how Russell plays and who the Lakers are able to sign next summer, but Johnson made it clear to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN that he doesn’t regret the move.
"I am not one of them dudes," Johnson said. "When I say bye, that's it. I keep moving. I can't get caught in emotions and all that. That is not who I am. We moved and we kept moving. After that trade we went on to the next thing."
Johnson also revealed the Nets weren’t the only team interested in Russell.
"Like five teams called for D'Angelo [so] we knew that we could move D'Angelo for one of the pieces that we were looking for. So we decided on Brooklyn, they got a great player in D'Angelo and we got what we wanted,” Johnson said.
Given that Russell hasn’t even played a game since the trade yet, and the Lakers (likely) don’t know for sure who they’re going to sign just yet, it makes sense that Johnson isn’t openly announcing he regrets his decision.
The Russell trade could be a disaster if he fulfills his full potential and becomes an All-Star while the Lakers are unable to sign any impactful free agents.
On the other hand, the trade could look like a genius move if it leads to the Lakers assembling a superteam next summer. It’s impossible to know which scenario will be the closer one to reality right now.
In fact, the reality is that plenty of people have plenty of varying thoughts on the move, but ultimately we have no new information with which to judge it yet. The man who made the trade not regretting it yet is hardly surprising. How the next few years play out will dictate if his feelings change in the future.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.