D’Angelo Russell was benched by Darvin Ham for the Los Angeles Lakers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
The end result?
L.A. won 129-120 and Russell had a solid showing off the bench. When it was all said and done, he finished with 15 points in 17 minutes of play.
In the aftermath, Russell was asked for his blunt thoughts on being benched. He ultimately kept it as real as he possibly could, given the circumstances.
“The result was a win, so for me, that’s all that matters. Just trying to impact winning and be energy whenever I get on the floor,” Russell said.
“Starting is a different monster. You’re playing around starting units. You’re playing against the scouting report. You’re playing against a lot of things like that.
“When you come in, you gotta jump back on where the starters left off at, as far as matchups and things like that. So figuring out ways to still gain some type of advantage coming in at a later time.”
Obviously Russell would prefer to start, but he seems to understand what is going on. Plus, he was keenly aware of his standing within the organization when he re-signed with the Lakers this past summer.
Russell’s future in L.A. was and continues to be predicated on his play.
As things presently stand, the Lakers are one of four teams in the hunt for Zach LaVine. If that deal materializes, Russell will likely be included as an outgoing piece.
The front office’s ‘high end’ offer to the Chicago Bulls for LaVine is a matter of public record.
Olivia Dunne’s Outfit To Devils-Red Wings Games Distracts Players (Photos): https://t.co/y720EJmOyD
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 24, 2023
In the meantime, Russell just has to figure out a way to be as helpful to the Lakers as possible.
This likely won’t be the last time his role changes this season.
Will Russell still be on the Lakers by the time 2024 comes to an end? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.