D’Angelo Russell, the young Los Angeles Lakers point guard, is winning over a lot of scouts and coaches with his performance in the ongoing NBA Summer League.
Russell hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer on Saturday as the Lakers beat the Sixers 70-69 to maintain a winning record in the tournament. After the game, several coaches in the arena were floored by his skill set with Lakers summer league coach Jesse Mermuys calling Russell “a special talent”.
Oklahoma City Thunder could be forced to trade Russell Westbrook, a free agent next summer, at some stage before next year. If Thunder let Westbrook walk away in free agency, they would be devoid of any all-star talent in the aftermath of Kevin Durant’s exit this summer.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Lakers genuinely believe that they have a shot at signing the superstar point guard next summer.
“The Lakers think they can sign (Westbrook),” said Broussard, per Bleacher Report. “I was talking to some people, some executives yesterday about possible trades they might do, or offer, and I was told they think they can sign him as a free agent. So, why should they give up anything?”
D’Angelo Russell for Russell Westbrook?
In such a scenario, the Thunder would try to get something back for Westbrook and they would prefer a younger talent. D’Angelo Russell fits the bill.
According to ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, Lakers wouldn’t have much of a requirement for Russell if they acquire Westbrook next year. “The Lakers might be willing to offer Russell as the centerpiece of a Westbrook trade, since Russell would probably be redundant if they were to sign Westbrook in 2017, as some expect,” Pelton wrote in an insider piece last week.
David Thorpe also opined that Lakers would be better off acquiring Westbrook earlier. “L.A. is the likely destination for Westbrook, so the Lakers could just sit and wait a year. But why not be able to offer him the richest contract possible next July?”
Who else should Thunder demand for? Clearly, a direct swap between D’Angelo Russell and Russell Westbrook won’t please Thunder fans. Should Lakers throw in Julius Randle to sweeten the deal?