D’Angelo Russell was one of the most exciting NCAA prospects during his Ohio State tenure, but the former Buckeye has mightily struggled to adapt to the NBA during his first couple of seasons, showing glances of greatness every now and then but being kind of inconsistent for most of the time.
On top of that, an off the court incident with teammate Nick Young made life difficult for the youngster, who snitched on Swaggy P, recording him on video while he was admitting to cheating on his girlfriend, making him lose the respect from most of his colleagues.
Of course, it’s safe and normal to expect some growing pains during the first couple of seasons in the league, but it seems like the Lakers organization is more than willing to part ways with the guard, as they expected him to run the Laker offense but he’s clearly most comfortable playing off the ball.
That situation would most likely be solved during this upcoming offseason, as the Lakers are reportedly going to use their second overall pick to draft standout prospect from UCLA, Lonzo Ball, the older of three very talented players and a very interesting point guard with a lot of upsides, freeing Russell to play as a shooting guard where he’s thrived the most.
Nevertheless, a couple of days ago, Russell was once again in the headlines for the wrong reasons, as the former 2nd overall pick and 2-year pro reportedly liked a tweet that stated that there’s “no way in hell” the Lakers should draft Lonzo Ball.
So, after being part of a reported trade package to bring star caliber talent to the Staples Center, and after averaging 14.3 points and just 4 assists on 40.8% from the floor and 35.1% from beyond the arc, it seems like the 21-year-old isn’t that comfortable in Cali, but, where could he thrive the most? Let’s take a look at the best destinations for the Buckeye to go to.
Paul George is very likely to opt out of his deal at the end of this season and become a Laker anyways, so why on earth would the Pacers wait and let him walk for nothing? Magic Johnson was reportedly ready to send Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell and perhaps even a 2nd rounder in order to bring Paul George to the Staples Center, and that would be a great deal for both parties, pairing those youngsters with Myles Turner and having Russell as their go-to-guy on offense for a very bright future in Indy.
The Bulls want to rebuild and Butler wants to win, but only one of those things can happen right now. So, Chicago could send the two-way guard/forward to LA in order to acquire Russell, Randle and Tarik Black, while the Lakers would gain an All-Star caliber player, Magic Johnson’s greatest desire at the moment. In the meantime, they could just wait until the end of the season to pair Butler with Paul George for the 2018-2019 campaign while Ball, Clarkson, Ingram, Nance and Zubac keep improving.
It’s been pretty clear that Jahlil Okafor has to be traded, although he didn’t get a lot of value during the last season, and he could still be used to lure Russell to Philly if they play their cards properly. Okafor would go to the Lakers along with the 36th and 39th pick of this draft, and Russell would provide a lot of offensive balance to a team also featuring Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Joel Embiid, as well as the most likely third overall pick Josh Jackson.