Will the Lakers move Russell?
Bleacher Report acknowledges that the Lakers are open to trade their point guard, who was the No. 2 pick of the the 2015 NBA Draft. It is the hope that the Lakers get another top-5 draft pick in this year’s draft. Because of the teams who are drafting in that range, it will be difficult to get a deal done without some help. But there are some possibilities for the Lakers to consider if they have an open mind.
News that the Lakers made D’Angelo Russell available in a trade is not surprising. The Lakers were mum on him ever since he leaked a video of Lakers’ teammate Nick Young’s conversation about possible infidelities that take place on the road. Deadspin did report that the Lakers were angry about the leaked video.
For the Lakers, it could be as simple as talent versus maturity. There are a handful of teams who would love to have that problem, although neither would give the Lakers a top-5 draft choice that they seek.
Of the teams who would look to make a trade with the Lakers, the 76ers have the No. 1 pick in the draft. There is zero chance that Philadelphia is trading that pick — especially if they believe that Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram are transcendent talents. But the 76ers do have center Jahlil Okafor to trade. Plus, the 76ers are in need of a point guard.
All of the finances makes sense for a Lakers and 76ers trade. Both players would fill a need for the other. Also, a 2015 draft night snafu would be rectified.
Most people believed that the Lakers were going to draft Jahlil Okafor with the No. 2 pick last year. They shocked everyone when they went with D’Angelo Russell. Perhaps the Lakers were looking at the flashiest player. Russell’s game, which consists of speed, eye-popping passes and deft moves to the basket caught the Lakers attention. What went ignored were the maturity concerns that former Lakers’ head coach Byron Scott brought up in February.
Those same questions were raised about Jahlil Okafor after his fight in Boston back in November, 2015.
Questions of maturity aside, Okafor is a better fit for the Lakers, while Russell is perfect for the 76ers. Since the No. 1 pick is not in play, no trade will happen. The Lakers are overvaluing D’Angelo Russell’s worth.
The Celtics are trying to unload their No. 3 pick for a star player. There will be no trade between them and the Lakers. Besides, they already have all-star Isaiah Thomas entrenched at point guard.
It is clear that point guard is a strength for the Suns. Phoenix would still love to have Russell, but not for the No. 4 pick. Especially with the possibility of guard Kris Dunn being available. It is safe eliminate the Suns from any consideration.
Then you have the Timberwolves are already young enough. Plus, new coach and team president Tom Thibodeau is not known to play young players. That takes them off the list.
There is a deal that the Lakers can make, but how they overvalue Russell may stand in the way.
A deal could be made with the Chicago Bulls. In a potential trade scenario, the Lakers would get Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose in return for Russell.
Trading Russell for Rose makes sense if the Lakers want to jump-start their rebuilding process and get back to the playoffs. Rose is not the player that he once was, but he is an upgrade over Russell at this stage. There is no proof that the Russell will turn into an all-star. He had a solid rookie season, but there are no promises that he will rise to the status that his talent suggest.
If the Lakers want to attract free agents, the lure of Los Angeles will help, having D’Angelo Russell may not. For the Lakers, Derrick Rose may be enough to entice players to give the team some serious consideration. Ask Kevin Durant if he had a choice, which guard he would rather play with between D’Angelo Russell and Derrick Rose, he would likely pick Rose.
Adding Russell helps the Bulls get younger, without altering the pecking order much. Unlike the Lakers, the Bulls edict is to build a winner, not to win now.
A Lakers and Bulls swap of Russell for Rose makes a lot of sense. Again, the Lakers overvalue what they can get for D’Angelo Russell. Getting Derrick Rose and the No. 14th pick, which the Bulls should offer the Lakers is enough. No way would the Lakers make that trade, though.
A three-way trade between the Lakers, Bulls, and 76ers would work. In this scenario, the Lakers could send D’Angelo Russell to the 76ers, who would give the Lakers the No. 24 pick and next year’s first round choice. Jahlil Okafor would land with the Bulls, who would send Taj Gibson to Philadelphia and Derrick Rose and Nikola Mirotic to the Lakers along with the No. 14 pick.
There will be plenty of NBA trade scenarios that will take place between now and the draft. It will be interesting to see how things work out for the Los Angeles Lakers.
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