The Los Angeles Lakers can’t be accused of leaving any stones unturned as they’ve gone through the process of preparing for the 2017 NBA Draft. The team has been planning out workouts with top prospects like Lonzo Ball, as well as De’Aaron Fox and Dennis Smith.
But their second overall pick isn’t the only one the Lakers have to prepare for. They also have to look at players that might be in play for the 28th overall pick, as well as undrafted free agency, workouts they’ve also done in spades.
Players for the latter to contingencies were seemingly the draw at Creative Artist Agency’s pro-day, where Jordan Bell, Sebastian Saiz, Amile Jefferson, Rodions Kurucs, Luke Kennard, John Collins, Donovan Mitchell and Tyler Roberson among those working out for tons of NBA executives.
Among them was Magic Johnson, who is heading into his first draft as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, and he had a special guest joining him:
Behind Johnson and D’Angelo Russell (who look to be having a great time) are Lakers front office members Ryan West and Jesse Buss, as well as South Bay Lakers general manager Nick Mazzella.
Aside from seeing all of that Lakers representation in the gym, the big takeaway here is more evidence of Russell spending time with Lakers executives during the offseason.
With all the speculation that the team drafting Ball second overall could force them to deal Russell, it’s notable that he seems to be spending plenty of time around the team regardless, no small thing when considering how quick many in the national media are to paint him as difficult to deal with.
No, one photo at his agency’s pro-day where he and Johnson are all smiles doesn’t mean Russell isn’t getting dealt, but it does make it harder for people to stir up drama or believe it’s afoot.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here, or listen to our latest episode on all things NBA Draft with the Ringer’s Johnathan Tjarks below), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.