NBA Twitter hands D'Angelo Russell swift reality check after opt-in declaration

Social media came together to deliver an honest message to the Lakers' point guard.
D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers
D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The NBA free agency period is just a few dozen hours away, and the Los Angeles Lakers have a multitude of players whose futures are up in the air. In just a few short weeks, it is possible this team's roster looks vastly different than it did at the end of April when their season officially came to an end.

Of course, one of the most-discussed players set to hit free agency in Los Angeles is D'Angelo Russell. The two-time Lakers guard began his second stint with the team at the February 2023 trade deadline, six years after a two-year run to begin his career. Late on Friday night, the announcement was made that D'Lo will plan to pick up his player option and return to the Lakers next season.

Along with that breaking news was a message that Russell did this with his top priority of winning a championship in mind. That comment sparked plenty of controversy across social media, given that the Lakers are far from a championship favorite as of right now.

Social media reminded D'Angelo Russell of reality

On top of the Lakers' status being far removed from a top-tier contender, there is also the fact that Russell opting in actually makes him a more likely candidate to be traded than if he had declined his option. Based on D'Lo's overall very solid production during the 2023-24 season, many expected him to opt out and seek a bigger deal that he had very likely earned.

Instead, he has now locked himself in to the 2025 free agent pool. Clearly, D'Angelo is betting on himself yet again, but it is hard not to feel like he is leaving something on the table here.

This situation all comes together with the latest report from The Athletic's Jovan Buha, who wrote that the Lakers "are expected to be aggressive in pursuing Russell-centric trades, according to league and team sources" (subscription required).

It seems that D'Lo's vision for his free agency decision was an illusion. Based on all the current reports and the reality of his contract, it certainly seems there is a solid chance this choice leads to him departing Los Angeles before the start of next season.