D’Angelo Russell’s second run with the Los Angeles Lakers has gone far better than the first thus far.
When the former Ohio State standout was first drafted by L.A. back in 2015, a lot of expectations accompanied him. His failure to live up to them fully left a sour taste in everyone’s mouths.
This time around, Russell has come in as a franchise savior – rescuing the organization from the plight of having Russell Westbrook playing point guard for a year and a half.
As well as Russell has played, his future is very much in doubt. He is currently in the final year of a four-year, $117 million contract. That means if the Lakers want to keep him, they will have to pay him this summer.
In a conversation with Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times, Russell kept it as real as he possibly could on what the future holds for him in L.A.
“I’m just at peace, to be honest,” he said. “I’ve been at peace for a long time.”
As far as the offseason goes, Russell has been around long enough to know that nothing is etched in stone when it comes to the NBA.
“I’m a free agent this summer,” he continued.
“I’ve been traded midseason, so to get comfortable somewhere it’s not easy for me. So, until I am, I won’t be comfortable. I won’t feel like it’s home.”
Given that the Lakers have literally traded him away in the past while ridding themselves of Timofey Mozgov’s godforsaken contract, Russell not getting too comfortable in purple and gold is definitely understandable.
That said – times have changed. In his last game against the Phoenix Suns, an absolute must-win for the squad, Russell scored 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting and dished out six assists. One outing earlier, a late loss against the Dallas Mavericks, he scored 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting and also dished out six assists.
By any objective measure, he has been at least the Lakers’ second best player with LeBron James out – and arguably their most consistent.
Both he and his girlfriend have also gotten very comfortable in Los Angeles very quickly.
It’s not all bad news for Tennessee. https://t.co/LsrdIciaV9
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 24, 2023
Russell has earned a new contract this summer.
Whether or not Jeanie Buss and Co. will ultimately give it to him remains to be seen.
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.