D'Angelo Russell Trade Partner Emerges as Lakers Pursue Another All-Star

As D'Angelo Russell's future with the Los Angeles Lakers is up in the air, a potential trade partner has emerged for the veteran point guard.
Where could D'Angelo Russell potentially end up?
Where could D'Angelo Russell potentially end up? / Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA's free agency period is officially underway and the Los Angeles Lakers have nothing to show for it. Despite LeBron James reportedly willing to take a pay cut to allow the franchise to sign another potential All-Star, the Lakers stayed idle as some of the top available names quickly found new homes.

Although the Lakers missed out on acquiring players like Klay Thompson and Jonas Valanciunas, there's plenty of time to make more moves. The trade market offers plenty of solutions to add some help, especially if Los Angeles opts to move D'Angelo Russell, who opted into his $18.7 million player option for the 2024-25 NBA season.

While some teams may not be willing to take on the veteran point guard, one potential suitor has emerged from the dust.

Lakers Rumors: Nets Emerge as D'Angelo Russell Suitor

If the Lakers want to use Russell's contract to add a third star like the Chicago Bulls' DeMar DeRozan, they could need a third team to help. Assuming that's the case, Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer reports that the Brooklyn Nets are interested in acquiring the 28-year-old playmaker.

Just like when he was moved to the Lakers in 2022-23, being acquired by the Nets would be a reunion for Russell. After spending his first two NBA seasons in L.A., the former Ohio State Buckeye — as well as Timofey Mozgov — was traded to Brooklyn back in June 2017 for Brook Lopez and Kyle Kuzma's rights.

Although his first season with the Nets wasn't special, Russell took his game to the next level during the 2018-19 campaign. He averaged 21.1 points on .434/.369/.780 splits, 7.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals across 81 games as he earned his first-ever All-Star nod before finishing second in Most Improved Player voting.

If he was still playing at that level, chances are the Lakers wouldn't be looking to trade Russell. He wasn't even half bad during the 2023-24 regular season, putting up 18.0 PTS/6.3 AST/3.1 REB while shooting 45.6% from the floor and 41.5% from deep. The issue comes from Russell disappearing during the postseason, including when he finished with zero points in Game 3 of the first round.

But even with Russell struggling, his joining the Nets would upgrade their backcourt. Dennis Schroder and Ben Simmons are currently atop their PG depth chart and while Schroder — another ex-Laker — is still solid, the fact that Simmons has played just 57 games over the last two seasons suggests that Brooklyn could use a reliable posser like Russell.

Time will tell if and when the Lakers trade Russell this summer. Although the new campaign doesn't begin for another three months, the trade market will only become more limited as the days go by. If there's a chance that the Nets are willing to bite on the former All-Star guard, it might be wiser to pull the trigger sooner rather than later.

In other Lakers news: