The Los Angeles Lakers have a new look since the trade deadline with the front office making a number of moves to surround stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis with players who better fit around them. The most notable deal brought in D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt, all of whom started with LeBron and Davis in Wednesday’s victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.
Russell, Beasley and Vanderbilt are all familiar with each other from their time together in Minnesota and Russell is already thinking about what the future of this group can be following an outstanding first game. “Minnesota Timberwolves right there. Nah, it was fun,” Russell said after the Lakers win. “Honestly, I just kept saying it to the guys. Just having that much fun playing basketball is it’s always a beautiful feeling. Obviously, when LeBron [James] and AD are going like that, it’s easy to follow those guys. So we can only imagine what the future looks like.”
With the ball flying around and players moving around on offense, it led to excellent results for the Lakers as a whole. Easy baskets, defensive stops and getting out in transition leads to wins which is ultimately the most fun thing.
As far as that lineup itself goes, Russell believes playing with stars like James and Davis makes everything easier for everyone else. “Different styles, it’s easy, I think it’s just easy for those guys to try to play the right way the majority of the time so two best players are willing passers,” Russell added. Selfless out there and try to screen away, back screen so they play basketball out there.
“So for me, I’ve always wanted to be in that position. If I make a cut, I might get the ball but I’m usually the guy making that pass to older guys. Having LeBron out there knowing that he’s capable of doing it. It’s almost like another point guard out there as well. I always say AD has is there’s so much gravity when he’s on the floor and the defense you know tries to stay attached to him you find yourself walking to the rim.”
Russell’s ability to play with and without the ball makes him such a perfect fit with LeBron while his work in the pick-and-roll will help to open up Davis on his runs to the rim as well. But Russell is also focused on those times when both of the Lakers stars are on the bench.
“So just utilizing how I can play with and without those guys, that’s gonna be the main focus for me, and trying to get other guys going as well as is my focus, too. Those guys have the ball out at a time so whenever we get another group in there and I’m in there with that group trying to get those guys going to just make an establish hard to guard.”
After the trade deadline, the Lakers’ roster as a whole is in a much better place. Everyone is locked in on how to help the team make this push into the playoffs and Russell has the ability to make a huge difference down the final stretch of this season.
D’Angelo Russell, Lakers have mutual interest in contract extension
For Russell, his future with the Lakers is up in the air as he is in the final year of his contract and will be a free agent this summer. But his return to the franchise that drafted him is not intended to be a temporary one.
Recent reports suggest that there is mutual interest between Russell and the Lakers on a contract extension and that the front office did not trade for Russell to be a rental, but rather a potential solution at point guard moving forward.
Discussions between the two sides could really begin to pick up over the next few weeks.
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