The Los Angeles Lakers kept their first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft Tuesday, but even with the second-overall pick in hand, the team’s rollercoaster of an offseason has only just begun.
Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated reported that after the lottery, “multiple NBA teams are evaluating trade packages for D’Angelo Russell,” presumably because those organizations are assuming the Lakers will draft UCLA guard Lonzo Ball.
Those assumptions might be premature, however. The Lakers could move Russell, but especially given how well their experimenting with him as an off-guard went late in the season, there is no reason to assume that he and Ball couldn’t play together in the team’s backcourt for the next decade.
Both are big guards who can shoot and are at their best when splitting time on and off the ball, so despite both being so-called “point guards,” the two could easily work out as a backcourt tandem as well.
It remains to be seen if the Lakers agree, but it seems premature to assume Russell is gone even if the Lakers pick Ball.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.