Lakers Might Part Ways With D’Angelo Russell; Several Teams Interested
Several teams are scrambling to come up with trade packages for Los Angeles Lakers' starting guard D'Angelo Russell. The Lakers may part ways with Russell after they bagged the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
The Lakers may pick former UCLA playmaker Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick. If Ball comes on board, the Lakers can afford to let go of Russell, a former second overall pick in the 2015 Draft.
According to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated, Russell can be a trade option for teams in search for a playmaker but don't want to spend huge money in the free-agent market. Russell has two years and around $12 million remaining on his deal with the Lakers.
Another option for the Lakers is to switch Russell to the No. 2 spot next season in case Ball takes over the playmaking chores. Last season, the Lakers experimented on Russell at No. 2 and it paid dividends as he averaged 24.6 points and 5.6 assists in five straight games.
The switch to No. 2 fueled Russell's aggressiveness in attacking the basket, according to video analyst Pete Zayas of Laker Film Room. In 53 games at point guard, Russell averaged 2.8 free throw attempts a night but in five games at No. 2, he averaged 5.2 free throws per outing.
Lonzo's father, LaVar, expressed confidence that the Lakers will use their No. 2 pick to take his son. LaVar boasted that the Lakers will definitely end their four-year playoff drought with his son as playmaker.
"Yes, it does," LaVar told Ryan Ward of Lakers' Nation. "The Lakers make the playoffs as soon as my boy gets there". LaVar added that his son will work out only for the Lakers.
LaVar also said Lonzo should win a championship ring at the end of his seventh season to establish himself as one of the best players in the game. In 36 games at UCLA, Ball averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.6 assists.
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