Lakers News: D’Angelo Russell Opens Up About Weight Being Lifted Off Shoulder After Trade Deadline
D'Angelo Russell, Lakers
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the season, it felt like the worst kept secret in the NBA that the Los Angeles Lakers would be dealing D’Angelo Russell at some point during year. Russell waived a pseudo no-trade clause that most players in his position would get upon re-signing, which just led to more rumors that Russell would be gone.

The point guard being moved to a bench role for a little bit certainly sparked those murmurs even more, but once he returned to the starting lineup, Russell hasn’t looked back, being one of the Lakers’ most important offensive weapons.

But even despite that, the rumors persisted as the trade deadline neared. Russell discussed this in the latest episode of The Backyard Podcast, saying that it was a lot of pressure but he tried to stay even keeled throughout:

“Obviously it’s a lot of pressure, the memes are good, it’s all of that, it’s whatever. But for me to actually really be in this and it be my life and my profession and everything, I just tried to approach it with a zen mentality. Knowing that I can’t control those things but also knowing that it is what’s going on and that’s what’s evolving around me. So being present within it but also not letting my mind get taken over by it.”

Obviously the trade deadline came and went with the Lakers choosing not to deal Russell, or anyone for that matter, and the guard admitted to it being a weight removed from him:

“We survived. It’s good to survive. It’s just a good weight off the shoulder. All in all, that’s what it was for me. So it’s cool to be here and reset and attack the second half of the season with some momentum.”

It’s difficult for many players to play through those rumors as not knowing where your future lies can get into your head. Russell was able to deal with it the best way he knew how and kept up his high level of play which also made the Lakers not want to deal him as he has been an integral part of the team.

Russell has been excellent and the Lakers are certainly happy he is still around as the team would be even lower in the standings if not for Russell’s offensive outbursts this year.

Darvin Ham: Lakers need D’Angelo Russell playing at high level to be successful

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham understands how important Russell is to the success of the team. Following another great night against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Ham spoke on his belief that the Lakers need Russell playing at this high level to have the success they are shooting for.

“I just knew, he has those DLo moments where he can throw it up any kind of way and it’s gonna find its way in the hoop,” Ham said. “It’s great to see him out there having fun, his teammates cheering him on and encouraging him, him being decisive and aggressive. DLo is uber talented and we need him. We need him to play at that level for us to have that ultimate success. He’s doing a great job.

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