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Lakers to Keep or Replace D’Angelo Russell?

Many are wondering about D'Angelo Russell's future with the Lakers amid his player option.

The Los Angeles Lakers have made some noise already early in the offseason. By dismissing Darvin Ham and acquiring a new head coach, JJ Redick. The Lakers will be searching the market and rumors have come in regards to D’Angelo Russell’s position as the starting point guard.Trae Young and Dejounte Murray of the Atlanta Hawks are two names who have been linked to the Lakers.

Lakers to Keep or Replace D’Angelo Russell?

Time will be a factor in Russell’s decision heading into free agency this summer. He still has not made an official decision on whether he is opting out of his $18.6 million player option for next season. Notably, Russell has until June 29th the eve of free agency to make a decision on his player option. Russell potentially could be playing elsewhere. Rumors have circulated about a trade package sending Russell, Gabe Vincent, Rui Hachimura, and picks for Young or Murray. Along with the Orlando Magic being interested in acquiring Russell in free agency. Although, this is all still speculation. The Atlanta Hawks have not made Young or Murray available for trade and they’ve not asked to be traded.

Analyzing Russell vs Young Numbers

After being traded back to the Lakers in the 2023 trade deadline, Russell has averaged some impressive numbers. He has averaged 15.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Russell has appeared in 21 playoff games ultimately falling short to the Denver Nuggets the past two years. One in the 2023 Western Conference Finals and this year’s first round. During his playoff stretches, Russell averaged 13.5 points, 4.5 assists, and 2.9 rebounds per game. Although his numbers aren’t as impressive as Young’s, his chemistry and productivity with the Lakers have grown over the past several seasons.

This past season, Young has averaged 25.7 points, 10.8 assists, and 2.8 rebounds per game. Trae has been the primary piece in helping the Atlanta Hawks to three straight playoff appearances. Young has proven to be an elite All-Star caliber player over his several years in the league. The question is whether or not the Lakers are yet again willing to sacrifice some key players in order to gain another All-Star.

The Last Word

The Lakers will have to really analyze as to whether trading D’Angelo Russell is the right move in order to get the purple and gold back into a championship contender. We saw a stint of this team in the 2023 playoffs as they were able to make the Western Conference Finals. Is giving up key role players for an All-Star guard in Young or Murray the right move?

Russell seems to be a better fit instead of Young and Murray. Both are primary ball handlers who need it in order to make plays or score. Alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it could potentially make the offense stagnant. Russell is and has been a solid fit alongside the two because of his off-the-ball knowledge. He doesn’t need the ball in order to be effective. You are also losing some size and defense in acquiring Trae Young. Trading often which the Lakers seem to do hasn’t always worked out to be the best decision. You lose the chemistry and the solid core you’ve built over the past two seasons.

If the Lakers are to trade for Young, they are also going to be giving up some vital pieces they’ve acquired. Players like Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves, and Jarred Vanderbilt could be in the mix in order to acquire Young’s big contract. The Hawks aren’t looking to trade the two and if they are to do so, they will want a lot in return. Trae Young is not the only option if Russell is to opt out and choose somewhere else to play. With new head coach JJ Redick, Rob Pelinka and the Lakers will have their cards ready and on the lookout for a new point guard if needed.


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