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Debate

Should the Lakers trade D'Angelo Russell to keep LeBron happy, or is that a huge mistake?

The Los Angeles Lakers have been among the most unsuccessful teams so far into the offseason. They’ve missed out on several star players that they could’ve added to the roster. Not only that, but this came after LeBron James decided to opt out of his $51 million player option. James wanted to make room for an incoming player who would impact the team. Though free agents went by and the Lakers couldn’t act on time. James signed a two-year $101.35 million contract after this turn of events. D’Angelo Russell also exercised his player option, as he looks to run it back again.

However, the front office was in a tight situation while offering James a two-year deal. They were about to exceed the second apron limit, as they then offered a contract that was $2.7 million short of what could’ve been, had there not been an additional apron. At this point, the Lakers can only trade picks and their assets to bring someone new. Interestingly, the Lakers have a bundle of picks, including five confirmed first-round picks and six second-rounders. But this also doesn’t seem to be an option with Pelinka prioritizing these picks for the future.

Now out of all the players they could trade, D’Angelo Rusell would be the one they could look to include in a transaction. Austin Reaves is one of the assets the Lakers don’t want to include in any trade. This leaves them with Russell and hopefully, a couple of picks if the need be. But the Lakers can’t just push D-Lo out and expect someone better to come in so easily. Trevor Lane, host of the Lakers Nation recently elaborated on D-Lo’s credibility as a Laker.

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“However, what you can’t do is just rage trade D-Lo as a salary dump, as a ‘get whatever you can for him’, type of situation. And that’s really what I’m talking about here, ’cause I’m seeing a lot of that conversation around D’Angelo Russell. ‘Oh just throw him into any trade and essentially treat his value as neutral at best. He’s just a contract.”, said Lane.

The front office has to consider Russ’ contribution. Outside AD and Bron, D-Lo was the primary scorer. Also, Reaves and Russell are currently the only reliable shooters on the team, if we don’t consider Knecht a primary asset yet. Of course, there are talks of bringing in big names in exchange for Russell, but this trade can also go terribly wrong. Instead, the Lakers can use an alternative way of going around a trade.

The Lakers need not to sacrifice D’Angelo Russell

LeBron James signed a two-year deal. While no one is talking much about it and there hasn’t been a word from James, it may be possible that he’ll call it a career in the next couple of seasons. JJ Redick, the new head coach and also a good friend of James will be on the sidelines. Combining the two with Bronny James, the Lakers are all set to sell out tickets for the next two seasons. However, if they want to make a considerable run while they still have James in Hollywood, they should not hesitate to give up their precious picks.

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Yes, GMs get a lot of respect when they have multiple draft picks. But in this particular scenario, they can trade other assets like Gabe Vincent, and Jaxson Hayes, along with the picks. These two players may not have much credibility in the current market, but when you pack draft picks in the offer, this deal might just work. Not to mention, the Lakers should look to target a solid shooting guard or a forward. They lack consistent shooting and that should be their main concern.

If the front office can come up with such a deal, they’ll still have D-Lo, Reaves, and their important assets. Would this be a love they should consider? Well, the all-time scoring leader was ready to take a pay cut just so the squad could have been better structured. The Lakers can definitely look to compensate for James’ generosity. It will be interesting to see whether the Lakers continue to stay active in the offseason, as looking out for certain free agents might be to their liking.

What are your thoughts on the Lakers looking to trade D’Angelo Russell? Do you think they should keep him for another run? Let us know in the comments.

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Stay tuned for more such updates, and to follow what brand maker, Leonard Armato, had to say about the deadly duo, Shaq and Kobe, check out this exclusive video by EssentiallySports.