D'Angelo Russell has become the center of every Los Angeles Lakers trade rumor that has emerged with the trade deadline right around the corner. It has not quite reached Russell Westbrook levels, but it is clear that D'Lo's name is being floated around in trade conversations.
It was previously reported that Russell had no real trade interest throughout the NBA so he has become more of a contract fodder piece than a real asset. That being said, Russell has been playing his best basketball in quite some time over the last two weeks, which may have changed how some teams view him in the market.
It has not changed how the Lakers view him. Some would think that Russell's recent outburst (averaging 27.8 points on 54.3% shooting and 56.5% three-point shooting) would prompt LA to hold onto him for the rest of the season; that does not appear to be the case at all.
In his latest intel dump for Yahoo Sports, NBA insider Jake Fischer revealed that the Lakers have made the "most competitive offer" to date for Atlanta's Dejounte Murray. Part of that offer still does include Russell, who the Hawks still do not seem to want at all.
"The Lakers appear to have made the most aggressive known bid to date for Murray. Los Angeles has been willing to include a 2029 first-round pick plus a pick swap in its attempts to land the Hawks guard, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Atlanta is searching for a better player return than Russell, sources said, and the Hawks seem to prefer not taking back future salary, leaving the possibility for another three-team deal at the deadline that includes Russell"
D'Angelo Russell's strong play is not changing his Lakers trade fate
It does not matter how well Russell has been playing for the purple and gold, the Lakers are still looking to upgrade him to Dejounte Murray. It will be interesting to see if the Lakers can get across the finish line with that package, and if not, if the team is still floating Russell around in trade packages that don't include Murray.
This might seem outrageous to Lakers fans who have tuned into the last few games to see Russell putting on an offensive clinic. Russell has undoubtedly been fantastic over the last two weeks but the Lakers are right to not fall victim to a small sample size.
This has been the story of Russell throughout his entire career. He is undoubtedly a talented player who can have big moments and big games. Nobody is denying that Russell has talent.
The problem with Russell is that he is inconsistent and he does not contribute to winning basketball. There is a reason why multiple contenders were willing to give up Russell for not much in return. Minnesota swapped him last season for an old Mike Conley, whose numbers were not good at all at the time. Let's not forget that Russell was the return for Russell Westbrook, who had virtually negative trade value at the time.
Russell does not defend and the moment he isn't getting what he wants on offense he becomes a distraction. Just look at last year's Western Conference Finals. Russell was absolutely terrible. Sure, he had one great game against the Golden State Warriors, but the laundry list of bad games was much longer.
If the Lakers are going to win the title it is not going to happen with D'Angelo Russell as the team's starting point guard. It just isn't. That is why the team is still shopping him despite his recent outburst.