Chad Ford of ESPN reported Monday night that other NBA general managers had told him that the Los Angeles Lakers were offering former second overall pick D’Angelo Russell around the league in exchange for a top-12 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Selling so low on Russell just two years into his career never seemed to make a ton of sense. It seemed more likely that this was a case of rival general managers trying to drive down Russell’s value, or that the Lakers were just trying to gauge his stock around the league rather than actually move him.
We still don’t know if any of those explanations are true, or if there is another reason for the rumors. What we do know is that they may not be totally true, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.
Pincus is plugged into the Lakers organization after years on the beat, so it would seem likely he has a pretty good feel for the team’s intentions, and he took to Twitter Tuesday morning to call Ford’s report off base:
I'm told this particular one is innacurate https://t.co/fkvfVAJcU0— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 20, 2017
Part of the reason moving Russell never made a ton of sense — outside of the on-court reasons like him being the Lakers’ best current player — are off-court reasons. Russell, Julius Randle and Indiana Pacers All-Star and Lakers’ target Paul George share an agent, meaning it’s more likely than not that the former two stick around in LA at least until the latter is acquired:
I know this is abstract for some, but the possibility of Paul George significantly reduces any move with Randle or Russell going out from LA— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) June 20, 2017
With the draft less than a week away and free agency to follow soon after, rumors like this are only just getting started. It’s best to buckle-up and realize that every leak has motivation behind it, and try to keep a cool head.