Russell, who played for the Nets for two seasons earlier in his career, has been the subject of trade rumors this season.
“If they do make a deal, it would likely be for a guard — former Nets All-Star D’Angelo Russell has been among those names floated,” Windhorst wrote. “With an expiring $20.3 million deal, [Spencer] Dinwiddie is the likely fulcrum in any big move before the deadline.”
Russell signed a two-year deal with the Lakers this past offseason, but the second season on that deal is a player option. That means he could opt out of his contract after the 2023-24 season to become a free agent.
Russell was traded to the Nets after two seasons with the Lakers to begin his career, and he was named an All-Star for the first (and only) time in his NBA career with the Nets in the 2018-19 season.
However, Russell was traded the following offseason in a sign-and-trade deal that brought Kevin Durant to Brooklyn from the Golden State Warriors.
With the Lakers looking to upgrade their roster to make a playoff push this season (Los Angeles is currently the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference), Russell could be dangled to teams as a trade chip.
If the Lakers make a deal with Atlanta for Murray, it’s possible that Russell could end up with the Nets if Brooklyn decides to jump into the deal as a third team to help facilitate that trade. The Nets could move off of Dinwiddie’s deal – as Windhorst mentioned – as a way to make that happen.
This season, Russell has played well for Los Angeles. The lefty guard is averaging 17.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc.
He’s really thrived for Los Angeles since returning to the starting lineup, averaging 25.2 points per game over his last 10 contests.
While the Nets are the No. 11 seed in the Eastern Conference and on the outside looking in of the playoff picture, the team could view Russell as a piece to upgrade the roster to make a push for a play-in tournament spot this season.