Roughly six milliseconds after the Los Angeles Lakers won the second-overall pick in the NBA’s draft lottery, word came that there are “multiple” teams “evaluating” trade packages for D’Angelo Russell.
Here are the juicy deets, as relayed by SI.com’s Jake Fischer:
With the Los Angeles Lakers coming away with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft following Tuesday night’s lottery, multiple NBA teams are evaluating trade packages for D’Angelo Russell, league sources told SI.com.
Securing the No. 2 overall pick clears the way for the Lakers to likely select UCLA point guard and Chino Hills, Calif. native Lonzo Ball, which could render Russell’s skillset somewhat redundant.
Russell, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, still has two years remaining on his rookie contract and could be an attractive option to teams in search of a point guard, rather than splurging on an expensive free agent lead ball handler this offseason.
Having Ball, Russell and Jordan Clarkson on the same team would certainly seem redundant. And the Lakers, as crazy as it sounds, have to start thinking about how much Russell will cost. He has two years left on his rookie-scale deal but becomes extension-eligible after next season.
What’s not clear here is whether teams are “evaluating” trade packages the Lakers have offered or are trying to cobble together their own. The latter seems more likely, since the Lakers shouldn’t be moving him for less than an established star or high draft pick. And there are only a finite number of enticing packages they can build. Russell is a good start, but everyone else they can include, from prospects like Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr., to salary-matching fodder like Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng, is underwhelming.
The Lakers could build a monster trade offer around Russell and Brandon Ingram, but this feels a little drastic. As much as they want another proven star, the Lakers are rebuilding. Giving up their two top prospects would be a bizarre business decision, even if it results in Paul George or Jimmy Butler—especially because it’s unlikely they land either one of those studs without also giving up whomever they select with this year’s pick.