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Lakers Star Throws Vicious Jab at Former Teammate

Lakers head coach Darvin Ham on bench with players

Los Angeles Lakers point guard D’Angelo Russell has no love for former teammate Dennis Schroder. In a feature piece by ESPN reporter Dave McMenamin, the nine-year veteran expressed his dissatisfaction with how the bond between Schroder and Darvin Ham prevented him from having “a relationship” with the Lakers head coach.

“His relationship with Darvin is the reason I couldn’t have a relationship with Darvin,” Russell says.

D’Angelo Russell Throws Vicious Jab at Dennis Schroder

“When I was struggling, I would’ve been able to come to the coach and say, ‘Bro, this is what we should do,'” Russell says. “Like, ‘I can help you.'”

“Instead, there was no dialogue. … I just accepted it.” Perhaps unexpectedly, the former No. 2 pick then offers, “And we got swept (in the 2023 Western Conference Finals)… I’m here and he’s not. And I like our chances.”

Russell has become more confident throughout the season, primarily as the result of his improved performance prior to the All-Star Break. Over his last 29 games, Russell is averaging 21.6 points and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field (44.9 percent from 3). Once a near-lock to be traded, Russell had managed to quell the concerns of the Lakers. At least enough to earn their trust for the second half of the season.

Yet, it took nearly almost everything going right for Russell to even be in a position to do that.

The Luck of the Draw

Last summer, the Lakers signed defensive-minded guard Gabe Vincent to shore up their uninspiring perimeter defense. Yet, Vincent has been limited to just five games this season due to swelling in his left knee that required arthroscopic surgery. Of those five games, four were in October. With that, Russell has been the team’s only healthy point guard throughout the season.

That may not have been the case if Schroder had re-signed with the Lakers in the offseason. To that point, it was a possibility after the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Ham was outspoken in his desire to have Schroder back on the roster. Furthermore, Russell was still being dogged in the media for his lackluster showing that past postseason. In 16 games, Russell averaged 13.3 points and 4.6 assists per game on 42.6 percent shooting from the field (31.0 percent from 3).

However, a week after L.A. signed Vincent and re-signed Russell, Schroder signed a two-year, $26 million contract with the Toronto Raptors.

He had played on a minimum-salary contract with the Lakers the previous season, hoping to leverage his strong play on a popular playoff contender into a more lucrative deal. Frankly, Schroder had played his cards right with that decision. Still, he never would have needed to if he had signed either one of the two contract extensions that the Lakers had proposed.

First, Schroder turned down a two-year, $33.4 million contract extension before the 2020-21 season. Then he infamously rejected a four-year, $84 million contract extension during the 2020-21 season. Now, instead of competing for a championship with the Lakers, Schroder has been traded by the Raptors and is finishing the 2023-24 season with the lowly Brooklyn Nets.

Including L.A., Schroder has played for five teams since turning down the Lakers’ original extension offer.


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