The Los Angeles Lakers’ trade of D’Angelo Russell seemingly came out of nowhere, rocking the entire fan base as the franchise cleared the runway for Lonzo Ball. The person seemingly least shocked? D’Angelo himself.
Russell joined Adrian Wojnarowski’s The Woj Pod, discussing just about everything possible on his exit from the Lakers. One of the most telling soundbites from D’Angelo, though, was his evaluation on whether he was surprised he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets.
He wasn’t, understanding that the Lakers were going to do what they had to to get out of the ball-and-chain contracts Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng somehow.
“Honestly, I put myself in their positions, the guys that were making the decisions around there. They gotta get rid of some talent to get off those contracts and stuff like that, so I put myself in that position and I was wondering who could it possible be. Basically just looking in the mirror and I knew I could possibly be in that position, so I just looked in the mirror and made that conclusion and it happened.
“Prior to it happening I kind of expected it,” Russell said.
The days leading up to the Nets trade wasn’t the first time Russell faced the reality of being traded, though. D’Angelo felt the heat around the trade deadline last February as well, but survived the first roster shakeup from Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka.
“That was around the time where I knew it could happen to me. All I heard was my name, my name, with any other player's name. You don't expect it to happen to you, but when it does it's whatever. You see guys get traded all the time,” Russell said.
And with that, came some perspective from the trade the Lakers actually did make.
“I remember Lou Williams... he got traded and I felt bad because I was like ‘man that's my guy.’ I didn't expect him to get traded, but he was our best player on the team. I was like who else would they trade? They got this guy who was dominating, we weren't that good of a team I guess we weren't winning games, but he brought it every night and his stock was high.
“I put myself in their positions and saw what could they possibly trade. It was our best player. When you get traded you can't really look at it as a negative or anything like that. I seen him go to Houston and dominate, I personally thought he should've won Sixth Man of the Year but it is what it is,” Russell said.
The 30-minute podcast is well worth a listen, covering a variety of topics that are centered around his two years in Los Angeles.