No player on the Los Angeles Lakers has felt the weight of the NBA trade deadline more than D'Angelo Russell. Trade conversations began around Russell before the season even began, as the new deal he signed with the Lakers was begging to be traded.
After a slow stretch of games that resulted in Darvin Ham removing him from the starting lineup, the chatter around a Russell trade intensified. Russell took exception to this and put together a two-week stretch of games that rivaled the best stretch of his entire career.
That was not enough to remove him from the trade rumors as he still appears to be the most likely Laker to be traded this season. One player that Russell has been tethered to during all of this trade chatter is Atlanta's Dejounte Murray.
Atlanta reportedly doesn't want Russell in a trade and is pushing the Lakers to find a third team that can take on Russell's services. That has created some truly interesting trade scenarios, including one with the Brooklyn Nets. The NBA insiders over at ESPN recently put together six trades they want to see at the deadline, including this season-altering Rusell-Murray swap:
This D'Angelo Russell trade would be season-altering for the Lakers
As good as Russell as looked in recent weeks, trading him and just one first-round pick for Dejounte Murray would be a massive win. Murray is a much better two-way fit for the Lakers and can thrive next to Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Murray is also under contract for another four seasons at a very reasonable price. He is the perfect third banana to help the team win now while also enticing future stars to come to LA alongside him and AD once LeBron calls it quits.
All that being said, it is still hard to see why the Hawks or Nets would even do this. That is not to say that it is impossible, but the mental gymnastics needed for both Atlanta and Brooklyn make this trade unlikely.
Why would the Nets just swap Dinwiddie for Russell? There would have to be something in it for the Hawks as that one-for-one swap does nothing for the team. Los Angeles would have to trade some kind of draft capital or include a young piece like Jalen Hood-Schifino.
As for the Hawks, the downgrade from Murray to Dinwiddie is quite large and one pick probably is not enough to justify it. The Hawks would be trading four and a half year of Murray for half a season of Dinwiddie. Sure, the team would be getting salary-cap space but it is not like Murray was taking up a massive chunk as it.
Atlanta would definitely need more assets in this trad and would probably want to offload a contract as well if cap space if the M-O. This trade, as it stands, does not do that at all.
This is a dream scenario trade for the Lakers but that is for a reason: because it is unrealistic for the other two teams involved. If Rob Pelinka could pull this off then great, he deserves his flowers, but fans should not expect it.