The Los Angeles Lakers made a huge trade during the trade deadline, acquiring D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley for Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick. The trade has already seemed to pay off with all three players’ major contributors, especially Beasley, who has fit the Lakers’ need for a knockdown shooter.
It’s been a match made in heaven with Beasley next to Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Teams have been reluctant to help off Beasley, who also adds a different layer to the Lakers’ offense with his ability to come off screens for 3-pointers. He’s shooting 35% from deep so far in L.A. and scored over 20 points three times so far.
Beasley entered a mini shooting slump in the middle of March before exploding against the New Orleans Pelicans. He had seven 3-pointers for 24 points, entering the night confident even though he was struggling.
He has a $16.5 million team option for next season and the Lakers are reportedly expected to pick it up, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic and Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype:
I do think they pick up Beasley’s team option. It’s just one of those situations where you don’t have the means to replace him. I think, as you saw in Tuesday’s game against the Pelicans, he can go off for seven threes in a half and light a team up. He’s the best shooter the Lakers have had in the LeBron and AD era. I don’t think it’s debatable in terms of the number of attempts he’s willing to get up, his confidence, and his percentage. He’s shot in the high 30s on seven or eight attempts a game for the last several years.
Beasley is a player the Lakers long desired because of his 3-point shooting and fit next to L.A.’s stars. The decision to not pick up his option and let him walk would be a move that sends the Lakers back to square one — looking for a consistent shooter. They have until June 29 to pick up his option.
The Lakers have only four players on the books next season: LeBron, Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt and Max Christie. Free agents include Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura. There is a potential $32 million left in cap space for the Lakers to work with next season.
D’Angelo Russell and Lakers continue mutual interest for contract extension
D’Angelo Russell’s return to L.A. was a major surprise of the trade deadline and he’s been huge so far. Russell dealt with an ankle injury, but had 28 and 33 points respectively in his first two games back. His playmaking has been important for the Lakers with LeBron James still sidelined.
Russell is a free agent this summer, but rumors indicate he and the Lakers seem mutually interested in a contract extension.
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