Lakers’ Position On D’Angelo Russell Amid Chris Paul Rumors

Lakers’ Position On D’Angelo Russell Amid Chris Paul Rumors

The Los Angeles Lakers’ addition of D’Angelo Russell at the NBA Trade Deadline played a huge role in the team’s midseason turnaround.

Not only did they end up qualifying for the playoffs despite at one point being the second-worst team in the West, but they made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

Unfortunately, in that round, against the Denver Nuggets, Russell was awful. Virtually unplayable. He averaged 6.3 points on 32.3 percent from the field and 13.3 percent shooting from three.

Not only did Russell’s performance in the Western Conference Finals cast serious doubt on whether L.A. would re-sign him this summer, but it also fractured his relationship with LeBron James.

This week, word surfaced that the Phoenix Suns are looking seriously into waiving Chris Paul. If that does occur, the Lakers are one of four teams viewed as frontrunners to add him.

So how does Paul’s potential availability impact Los Angeles’ plans for Russell?

“Overall, when you look at the landscape, when you talk to team executives, they feel like the Lakers could be in the market for a point guard,” NBA insider Shams Charania said this week.

“When you think about the available point guards — Fred VanVleet, Kyrie Irving. Their best bet might be to bring back D’Angelo Russell.”

It is hard to see how Paul would change that equation too much. While his place in NBA lore is cemented at this point, he is also 38 years old. And over the past few years, due in no small part to his advancing age, he has been very injury prone.

Even if the Lakers did opt to add Paul, you still cannot rely on him to be your full-time point guard.

It’s also worth noting, Russell has his own fair share of suitors. There are at least four teams interested in him as well.

If the Lakers don’t want him – someone else will inevitably scoop him up. And with Dennis Schroder getting courted by two other teams, L.A. faces a very real scenario where they lose all their viable point guards.

One way or another, the Paul situation will resolve itself.

But that shouldn’t influence Russell’s future with the purple and gold too much.

Russell may not be the Lakers’ ideal point guard, but he is as good as they can hope to get this summer both in the short and long terms.

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Carlos Garcia

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.
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