Lakers News: LeBron James Praises D’Angelo Russell For Not Wavering Despite Trade Rumors
D'Angelo Russell, LeBron James, Lakers
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

This season, D’Angelo Russell has grown into the third scorer that the Los Angeles Lakers were looking for to pair alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In the midst of a crucial final stretch of the regular season, Russell’s recent play has led to much-needed wins for L.A.

The 27-year-old is proving his value with a player option looming this summer and the early expectation is for him to decline the option to cash in on a payday. However, the purple and gold are going to need this play from Russell sustained as the team fights for playoff seeding.

James spoke to Russell’s offensive impact on the team as the Lakers have found a rhythm as of late coming out of the All-Star break, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“I think he has the ability to do whatever the team needs, especially offensively,” James told ESPN of Russell’s impact on L.A.’s playoff push. “That’s what’s special about him. He can adapt to whatever the game calls for.

“But when D-Lo is at his best, he’s in attack mode.”

It is clear whenever Russell is clicking offensively, the Lakers go up a notch, and James commended his ability to play through all the outside noise and even increase his level for his team:

“It takes a strong individual, especially when you’re hearing everything that goes around,” James said of Russell. “You’re hearing the trade talks, you’re hearing this and that and whatever the case may be and ‘Is D-Lo the right fit?’ or whatever. One thing is, he just don’t waver.

“We never gave up on him either. Even when he went to the bench, we just still wanted to instill confidence in him because we knew we were going to need him. We need his ability — his uncanny ability — to rack up points in a bundle very fast.”

It has been an up-and-down season for the former Ohio State Buckeye, dealing with being benched again and trade rumors. However, the next step is to redeem himself after a subpar Western Conference Finals, which Russell seems primed to do at this point.

D’Angelo Russell & Darvin Ham improved relationship through back-and-forth dialogue

This season has been far from pretty as the Lakers have endured plenty of lows this year. A rough point is Russell and head coach Darvin Ham, who both struggled to see eye to eye. However, Russell believes he improved the relationship through back-and-forth dialogue.

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