D’Angelo Russell’s second stint with the Los Angeles Lakers went much better than the first as they made the Western Conference Finals.
Despite getting swept by the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers got a good glimpse at what their future could look as they’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to their free agents. Russell is set to be an unrestricted free agent, but Los Angeles owns his Bird Rights can go above the salary cap to re-sign him.
Although the exit from the postseason stings, Russell said he’s open to seeing what a prolonged stay with the team would look like.
“I mean I said that from the jump. We had some success early when I first got here just without having any offseason together, any real time to just kind of get things going, some confidence under our belt with our system and with the guys that we have,” Russell said at his exit interview.
“We just kind of just figured it out on the fly, so to have that success obviously there’s some positivity there and would love to get the opportunity to see what that looks like. But you know this is a business and this is the NBA, so we’ll see what opportunity presents itself and obviously I’ll do the best for myself.”
The guard acknowledged that his future with the Lakers is murky, but also reiterated that he’d love to stay with them and see another playoff run through.
“I just think honestly it just goes to what type of player I am. To just be able to adjust with the just completely different brand of basketball and when I just came from in Minnesota and still have some success and be relevant out there with these guys. I just give the praise to my IQ, my study of the game, just knowing how to prepare myself for what I was about to walk into mentally and physically. To kind of recognize that and activate it, I’ll give myself another pat on the back for that.
“As far as the future goes, I have no idea. I think when you put a group out there that knows the game and everybody wants the same goal I think you’ll have some success. But at some point, you’ll see you need that 50 games, you need that training camp, you need that offseason to kind of get over the hump and we didn’t have that. We made it to the Western Conference Finals, so I think the future’s bright. I think Rob Pelinka has some decisions to make, but that’s what his job is not mine. So would love to be here and be able to attend to it and contribute to that so we’ll see.”
Russell has previously expressed his desire to stay with Los Angeles so it’ll be interesting to see if he gets his wish.
Rob Pelinka says Lakers will prioritize continuity
Rob Pelinka did well to remake the roster at the trade deadline, but his next task is to figure out who to keep for next season and beyond. However, it sounds like Pelinka and the front office are focused on keeping their core together to build continuity.
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