Did the LA Lakers get snookered?
While many have ruled the Minnesota Timberwolves as emerging with the lesser trade package from the trade, I believe that the Timberwolves won the trade and listed multiple reasons why. Conversely, as the LA Lakers have since learned that the Timberwolves did not intend to extend D’Angelo Russell, their latest report indicates that they have already begun to regret the decision. Why?
It’s clear that the Lakers wanted D’Angelo Russell on their roster. But if he was already about to become a free agent in 2023, would the Lakers have made that trade? The Lakers traded their 2027 NBA Draft lightly protected first-round draft pick in this trade, a pick that they have treated like gold bullion before making this trade.
DLo returns to the Lakers
The Lakers have welcomed D’Angelo Russell, and rightfully so. He is just 26 years old, and the Lakers believe that he has his best NBA playing days in front of him. But contrast that with the fact that the Minnesota Timberwolves’ rumors now indicate that the team was not interested in bringing him back. The reason can be explained by how cold DLo was to teammate Rudy Gobert. This is not the first locker room controversy that D’Angelo Russell was connected to.
Lakers fans no doubt recall the last chapter of D’Angelo Russell’s career with the Lakers, the feud that developed between Russell and rookie Nick Young, which led to both players leaving the team. The hope in trading for him is that those locker room issues are in his distant past. But, that was not the case in the 2022-23 season for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Perhaps DLo, like leopards, cannot change their spots after all?