Following an eventful season that saw D’Angelo Russell return to the Lakers, reports have emerged suggesting that the Purple and Gold are exploring sign-and-trade options for the 27-year-old point guard. Jovan Buha of The Athletic recently provided insights into the Lakers’ intentions, shedding light on the challenging market for Russell’s services.
Russell’s second stint with the Lakers saw him contribute significantly during the regular season, averaging 17.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game in 17 appearances. However, his performance dipped in the playoffs, particularly in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets, where he struggled, averaging only 6.3 points, 2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game as the Lakers were swept.
With Russell now an unrestricted free agent, it appears that the Lakers are not inclined to retain him for the upcoming season. Instead, they are reportedly interested in a sign-and-trade scenario involving the Mavericks to acquire Kyrie Irving, who is also entering free agency.
However, Buha suggests that the Lakers’ pursuit of Irving may be a challenging endeavor, given the uncertainty surrounding the market for Russell. While a sign-and-trade with Dallas would be ideal, it seems unlikely that the Mavericks would cooperate with Los Angeles.
Buha mentions the possibility of Fred VanVleet as an alternative option, but acquiring him would necessitate the Toronto Raptors agreeing to terms with Russell or taking on the contracts of Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba.