Lakers Chose D’Angelo Russell Over Other Option Due to Big Future Plans: Report

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a rough two years, but at this year’s trade deadline, they made a big-time push. They traded Russell Westbrook and acquired a ton of talent. And so far, the changes have paid off, and the Lakers are looking to make a serious playoff push.

One of the players the Lakers acquired at the deadline was D’Angelo Russell. The point guard has played well so far in what is his second time in LA, and according to Juvan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers decided to bring him on board over a player like Mike Conley because they envision a future with Russell.

“I think those feelings are mutual,” Buha said of the desire for a potential Russell extension on the HoopsHype podcast. “When the Lakers made that deal, part of it was getting off Russ’ contract and getting out of that situation, but they could’ve potentially had Mike Conley in that deal. They looked at D’Angelo Russell as someone who could be their point guard of the future and potentially that lead ball handler and third-star type of guy that could fit around Anthony Davis and LeBron. From what I’ve been told, the Lakers have very strong interest in re-signing him. I believe it’s mutual on both sides. It’s just going to come down to what type of deal does that look like?”

At 27 years old, Russell is young enough to lead the Lakers for the next few years alongside Anthony Davis, and the two stars could form a nice duo. In his short time since joining the Lakers at this year’s deadline.

Russell has appeared in eight games for the Lakers thus far and is playing 29.0 minutes per contest. He has been averaging 18.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game on 46.8% shooting from the field and 41.1% shooting from behind the three-point line.

D’Angelo Russell Extension Could Be ‘Difficult’

According to sources who spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, there is a chance that the Lakers and Russell could have some initial troubles agreeing on a salary for his upcoming contract extension.

“No question,” a Western Conference executive told Deveney when asked if the Lakers would look to re-sign Russell. “If they went this far with all of this just to let him go in free agency, there would be heads rolling. He wants to be back in LA. They need a star or something that resembles a star, and he resembles a star. Getting to the right [salary] number for both sides could be difficult, but really, there is no one out there who is going to give D’Angelo Russell a giant contract at this point. Look at the teams with cap space –  Detroit? San Antonio? Houston? Who is going to pay him? So the Lakers are bidding against themselves.”

D’Angelo Russell Shows Love to Anthony Davis

After one of the Lakers’ recent wins over the New Orleans Pelicans, Russell showed love to Davis, calling him a “monster.”

“To answer your question, AD is a monster,” Russell said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “He continues to dominate the games. From defensively or offensively, tonight, he did a little bit of both. So, he continues to help our team. And then our supporting cast was amazing as well. I think that’s what got us over the hump.”

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