For many Lakers fans, bringing back D’Angelo Russell midseason felt like a fantasy. Even as the players dispersed across the league, fans still followed the Baby Lakers and wished for their success.
Having one come back to Los Angeles with the team now looking to contend for titles? That felt like a dream, but one not just shared by the fans. Owner Jeanie Buss also had that type of dream as well.
Recently appearing this summer on a radio show on 570 LA, Jeanie talked about her reaction to the team landing Russell.
“I really just so appreciated the turnaround. I think it started with some of the trades in January when Rui Hachimura became a Laker. And then, of course, going into the trade deadline, Rob (Pelinka) was able to kind of retool the roster and bringing back D’Angelo Russell was kind of a dream come true for me.”
Russell wasn’t just a Baby Laker, but one of the very first ones. While Julius Randle came before him, his injury during his rookie season effectively meant he debuted alongside Russell. And with Russell being the No. 2 pick with plenty of fanfare, he was seen as sort of a face of the rebuild for a while.
His exit left a particularly sour note in fans’ mouths as well, and that probably played into fans wanting him to come back and have another chance. Fortunately, he was able to get that chance, and while it was his play that left a sour note in mouths this time, he still did more than enough to validate his return.
His future in Los Angeles remains unclear after that ending to the playoffs, but seeing him back in purple and gold having big moments to both get the Lakers to the playoffs and help them win games once there was a joy for fans. Even if it was short-lived, it was an awesome experience for both fans and Jeanie.
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