Lakers Rumors: L.A. Exploring Sign-And-Trade Options On D’Angelo Russell
D'Angelo Russell, Lakers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There are a lot of questions surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason and perhaps the biggest involves the point guard position. Both D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder are free agents this summer and while it is believed the team wants to bring latter back, the future of the former is a bit more unclear.

Things seemed to be pointing in a more positive direction between the two sides until Russell’s showing in the Western Conference Finals. Russell averaged just 6.3 points on 32.3% shooting in the series loss to the Denver Nuggets. While the Lakers could simply let Russell walk this summer, that would mean losing an asset for nothing and it seems as if that is something the Lakers would prefer not to do.

According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, the Lakers are reportedly exploring sign-and-trade possibilities for Russell, perhaps in a deal involving Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul:

Would Phoenix take Russell for Paul? The Suns held discussions with the Timberwolves regarding Russell prior to the trade deadline, sources told Yahoo Sports, before Minnesota found a new home for him with the Lakers. Phoenix also coveted Wolves center Naz Reid in trade talks, sources said.

Russell is known to be close friends with Booker. Plus, the Lakers are said to be exploring similar sign-and-trade possibilities with Russell. For Los Angeles and Phoenix, losing Russell by free agency or waiving Paul would sacrifice a $30 million salary slot that feels all the more precious while staring down a daunting new second tax apron in the league’s upcoming collective bargaining agreement. These decisions are not ones to make on a whim, and that’s why Phoenix and Paul have begun discussing different alternatives roughly three weeks before free agency begins.

Even if the Lakers don’t want to bring Russell back next season, getting any sort of asset in exchange for him could be the way to go. His trade market likely isn’t as high as it was prior to the postseason, but just one team having interest is all it takes.

The Lakers are believed to have interest in Paul and if Phoenix still has interest in bringing in Russell this could be a case of both sides helping each other. But the Lakers are a team that will always explore all options and if D’Angelo Russell is an asset that could bring back something valuable, the Lakers are going to test that market.

D’Angelo Russell calls second stint with Lakers a ‘complete success’

Whether or not D’Angelo Russell will continue on with the Lakers is unclear, but regardless of if he is in purple and gold next year, Russell believes this second run in Los Angeles was a success.

“Complete success. Honestly,” Russell said. “It’s been a great time, it’s been a great experience. To come back and be in this position as prepared as I was, give myself a pat on the back for that one.

“Being able to just adjust and just get thrown into the fire with the team and try to figure it out on the fly and make it to the Western Conference Finals. A complete success. I really can’t really complain about anything besides the ball going in when I wanted it to. But other than that, I enjoy my time and it was what it was.”

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