D'Angelo Russell Lakers
D’Angelo Russell Lakers Source: Hawaii News Now

D’Angelo Russell once again returned to the Los Angeles Lakers before the February trade deadline this year. Previously, he debuted in the NBA, representing the squad in 2015. And two years later, he joined Brooklyn Nets. However, D’Lo returned to the purple and gold at a time when the team was in deep trouble. After he came with a bunch of players in February, it changed the culture in the locker room.

As a result, the Lakers did the unthinkable. They not only made the postseason but also reached the conference finals. D’Angelo Russell was an unrestricted free agent, and many fans thought Rob Pelinka and the front office would not retain him. But the front office proved those people wrong. The Lakers signed a two-year contract with D’Lo for $37 million with a player option in his second year. Some praised the decision, but some did not.


Was Retaining D’Angelo Russell A Good Idea Or A Big Mistake?

Anthony Davis D'Angelo Russell Austin Reaves
Anthony Davis D’Angelo Russell Austin Reaves Lakers Source: Los Angeles Times

According to several NBA experts, re-signing D’Lo Russell was the biggest mistake of the Lakers in the offseason. Apparently, signing a multi-year contract with him is even worse. Rob Pelinka could have done the same deal with Dennis Schroder or a Fred VanVleet-level player. After returning to the LA side, D’Lo had an average of 17.4 ppg, 6.1 apg, 2.9 rpg, and proved himself to be an expert three-pointer shooter in 17 regular season games. However, after signing with the Lakers in the offseason again, D’Angelo Russell became the first player to waive an (implied) no-trade clause.

This clause is under the new NBA rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. D’Lo decided to waive his Veto rights. It can help the Lakers as he is eminently tradeable worth $18 million, a mid-size annual value. The Lakers Nation knows that D’Lo is a liability in the team’s defense. He controls the ball for too long, and it might not help the Lakers move smoothly as he tries to take too many shots. On top of that, if the opponent has a decent game plan for D’Lo, then it won’t be too hard to stop him. But there might be certain games when he can look valuable if he is able to take some pressure off, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Then the front office will get their money’s worth. 

Lakers Hoping D’Lo Plays Well In Both Regular Season & Post-Season

D'Angelo Russell Darvin Ham Lakers

D’Angelo Russell was in his top form during the regular season. He helped the team to redeem themselves to make the postseason. However, D’Lo Russell disappointed fans in the playoffs. Most of his shooting attempts ended in failure. Many believe D’Lo is responsible for the Laker’s defeat against the Denver Nuggets.

If he could have been more lethal as a point guard in the Western Conference Finals, then the Lakers could have won at least one game. However, the Nuggets blew the 17-time champions 4-0 in the WCF. Later, they went on to win their maiden NBA Title. On the other hand, the Lakers missed out on a chance to win their 18th title this year. Hence, the Lakers have been pushing hard in the free agency to build the best possible roster to win the following season.