D’Angelo Russell on NBA trade block: 3 ideal destinations for former All-Star


D’Angelo Russell made the decision to opt into his $18.69 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers instead of hitting NBA free agency.

The former All-Star guard wanted to return to Southern California for another season. It came after an up-an-down 2023-24 campaign for the former No. 2 overall pick from Ohio State.

Almost immediately after Russell picked up his option with the Lakers, they started offering him up in trade talks. That included discussing a deal with Russell’s former Golden State Warriors team in a sign-and-trade for Klay Thompson.

Nothing came to fruition on this end, with Thompson heading to the Dallas Mavericks. However, it was a clear indication that the Lakers don’t view Russell as a fit.

With LeBron James set to sign a max contract in Los Angeles, the team is up against it. Russell’s $18.69 million expiring contract now becomes valuable from an asset standpoint.

  • D’Angelo Russell stats (2023-24): 18.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 6.3 APG, 46% shooting, 42% 3-point

Despite these solid numbers, Russell is not necessarily viewed as a core player around the league. The guard’s best asset is his contract right now. At the very least, when it comes from a Lakers perspective.

Related: Updated Los Angeles Lakers news and rumors

D’Angelo Russell trade scenarios from the Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell

Here are the best trade scenarios for both Russell and the Lakers.

Chicago Bulls

Los Angeles is said to be interested in Bulls star wing DeMar DeRozan. The team could attempt to sign him outright with a mid-level exception. But James’ contract makes that more difficult. Any sign-and-trade would require DeRozan inking a three-year deal and taking much less on a per-year basis.

This complicates things. But DeRozan is a Southern California native and would be an ideal fit in Southern California. Lakers GM Rob Pelinka did say on Tuesday that they were willing to trade draft assets if a deal made sense for them. Chicago would require this by taking on Russell’s expiring deal.

Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn is one team that’s reportedly interested in trading for Russell. The idea would be to take on his contract as the team starts anew with a rebuild. It would be the Nets’ way of collecting draft assets after the Mikal Bridges trade to the New York Knicks.

This potential deal could include Cameron Johnson heading to the Lakers. They are said to be interested in the forward. It could also be expanded to see Los Angeles add Dorian Finney-Smith to the mix. In this scenario, the Lakers send out D’Angelo Russell, Gabe Vincent and Jarred Vanderbilt to Brooklyn. The Nets add multiple first-round picks for their troubles.

Utah Jazz

Perhaps, there is a one-for-one swap that could be in play. Los Angeles had previously shown interest in Collin Sexton. He averaged nearly 19 points per game a season ago and might be a better fit in Southern California. Utah opts to get out from a longer-term deal (two years) by flipping Sexton and a couple second-round picks for Russell.

Another broader trade would be the Lakers pulling off a blockbuster for Lauri Markkanen. Though, that seems highly unlikely. They would have to give up pretty much their entire remaining draft haul moving forward. Pelinka and Co. are not about to do that.

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