D’Angelo Russell continues to be named as a potential trade piece for the Los Angeles Lakers with the NBA trade deadline now just a couple of days away.
“Russell’s name has been mentioned in trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets, Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks in recent weeks, sources told ESPN, while the point guard managed to play some of the best basketball of his career,” wrote Dave McMenamin.
The 27-year-old led the Lakers with 28 points in a victory against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. It was their third straight win, a streak which started with high-profile victories against the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks.
It has helped the Lakers climb two games above .500 at 27-25, the first time they have been two games over the mark since late December.
Russell has helped that slow climb by playing very well. In his past 16 games, the Ohio State University product is averaging 22.2 points per game, helping the Lakers go 10-6 in those contests.
Despite that, the Lakers are in ninth place in the Western Conference, leading to speculation that they are looking to improve and will make a trade before the deadline on Thursday. Russell looked like an expendable trade piece when he was removed from the starting lineup earlier in the season. Now, based on his improved play, he could be moved because his value might be higher. He has a player option on his contract for next season.
Russell is not the only prominent Lakers player named in recent rumors. LeBron James recently caused quite a stir with a cryptic post of an hourglass on social media.
With the recent visit to Madison Square Garden, thoughts of him possibly playing for the Knicks someday also were raised. In addition, a local Los Angeles sports anchor reported that the Lakers were actually sending out feelers about trading the superstar. That caused agent Rich Paul to tell ESPN that the 39-year-old would not be traded nor was he asking to be traded.
James reportedly wants the Lakers to be aggressive ahead of the deadline. They apparently have made an offer for Dejounte Murray of the Hawks and may be looking to add a wing player who plays good defense after losing Jarred Vanderbilt to an injury.
Whether Russell is required to make any of those deals happen will be known soon enough.