The Los Angeles Lakers might finally trade point guard D’Angelo Russell.
Russell has been the subject of trade rumors essentially since he arrived in Los Angeles. His slower-than-expected transition to the pros and an odd clash and so-called snitching affair surrounding teammates didn’t help.
With the Lakers holding two first-round picks, it was hard to imagine the front office would ship away Russell—until now, thanks to ESPN’s Chad Ford:
It’s interesting the Lakers would want to move Russell at this point. The team has the No. 2 pick and figures to take a point like Lonzo Ball, shifting Russell to the 2. Ford has also noted the Lakers are open to trading down:
But another scenario has piqued the franchise’s interest. The Lakers held internal discussions about trading back two spots to No. 4 if the Suns were to offer them a 2018 first-round pick.
What are the Lakers trying to address? Here’s ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on the matter while noting the Lakers might try to grab another pick:
“The Lakers have engaged at least two teams in the lottery, sources said, as they search for players to improve their outside shooting and perimeter defense.”
Russell isn’t exactly known for his defense and he’s a career 35.1-percent shooter from range over two seasons, so the Lakers willing to move him doesn’t come as a surprise.
But here’s the problem—every team wants backcourt players strong in these areas and Russell simply isn’t. This is also a ridiculously deep class for point guards, so why trade for Russell as opposed to taking a high-end prospect?
The Lakers aren’t in a bad position by any means this year, but getting a big return for Russell doesn’t seem likely.