It was unclear if the Los Angeles Lakers were going to re-sign D'Angelo Russell after his showing in the 2023 Western Conference Finals. Russell was awful against the Denver Nuggets and nobody would have faulted the Lakers for moving on.
The team decided to bring him back anyway over the summer, signing him to a two-year deal with a player option. It was clear at the time, though, that the Lakers were re-signing Russell with the intention of eventually trading him. It was beyond obvious based on the inner workings of the contract.
Russell has played well to start the season and his defenders have been very vocal. His strong play has not ruled out a trade, however, as the Lake Show is reportedly looking to move the former all-star point guard, per Sam Amico of Hoops Wire.
"Russell is having a nice season, though, and the Lakers are actively looking to move him, sources told Hoops Wire."
NBA Rumors: Lakers looking to trade D'Angelo Russell after all
This might come as a shock to some fans with how Russell is playing this season but it really shouldn't. As we have outlined time and time again here on Lake Show Life, it is in the team's best interest to move Russell for a package that makes sense.
That does not mean the Lakers should trade Russell for 50 cents on the dollar, nor should the team be outright shopping him. But the team capitalizing on his strong play right now as well as his contract figure is absolutely the best thing the Lakers can do.
At the end of the day, Russell is not a reliable option to be in the postseason rotation. His play style does not translate to winning basketball in the playoffs and we have seen that time and time again. Sure, he has committed more to defense in November, but we will all see how that looks in May when other smart teams are constantly attacking him on the defensive end.
There is a reason why Russell has been traded from team to team and can never quite stick with one contender. There is a reason why teams like the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves have traded him. Russell's play looks great in the middle months of the season but the moment rubber meets the road the reality sinks in.
If the Lakers can parlay Russell's strong start into an asset that better helps the team win then it should be a no-brainer. Some fans might be shocked and might disagree, but the best version of the 2023-24 Lakers is one where Russell is traded at the right price.