The Los Angeles Lakers had one of the best showings of any NBA team in free agency. Los Angeles checked every box imaginable this summer and will run back a roster that is even better than last year’s.
One of the biggest unknowns for the Lake Show heading into the offseason was whether or not the team would bring back D’Angelo Russell. Russell had a woeful showing in the Western Conference Finals but if the team lost him, they would have lost him for nothing.
That is ultimately what brought Russell back to the Lakers on a two-year, $36 million contract. It was initially reported that year two would have a player option but more details recently emerged about D’Lo’s contract.
With the new details coming to light, it has become clear that the Lakers are giving themselves the ability to make a future move if need be. This brings a lot of clarity about Russell’s new deal and why the team opted to re-sign him.
Lakers all but confirm they will try to trade D’Angelo Russell with new contract
Russell waiving his implied no-trade clause is foreshadowing for what the Lakers are probably going to try and do at the deadline. Losing Russell in free agency for nothing was always the worst route and by doing this, the Lake Show can try and flip him for something come February.
Of course, Russell could prove that he is indispensable for the Lakers with strong play in the first half. But with his up-and-down nature and tendency to not commit to winning basketball habits, chances are he will hit the trade market come 2024.
Russell alone is not going to be worth much but his salary figure is the perfect number to make something happen. Perhaps that could be packaging him and Rui Hachimura with picks for a star at the deadline. Or it could be used as a contract to a team that is looking to get off of multiple years of money.
Regardless, the price and flexibility of Russell’s deal make him a great trade chip, even if teams won’t be lining up to trade for him. Add in the fact that Russell is waiving the implied no-trade clause and it seems inevitable that he won’t last this entire contract in LA.