The Los Angeles Lakers had an extremely active trade deadline. Their roster looks a lot different than it did just a few days ago, as the team attempted to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with enough talent to compete for a championship.
One of the first deals they made landed D’Angelo Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-team deal that saw the Lakers ship Russell Westbrook to the Utah Jazz. After the trade went through, Russell sent a message to the Lakers and their fans on Twitter.
“LakerLand Whagwan,” Russell tweeted.
A simple message from Russell means a lot with the added context. After five and a half seasons away from LA, Russell re-joins the franchise that drafted him. He was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets, then traded to the Golden State Warriors, then traded again to the Timberwolves.
Now, nearly six years and three trades later, Russell finds himself back where it all began. And this time around, rather than getting developmental minutes on Lakers teams fighting for the top lottery odds, Russell will aim to help James and Davis earn a playoff spot.
Russell appeared in 54 of the Timberwolves’ 58 games before getting traded to the Lakers. Before the move, Russell was averaging 17.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 6.2 assists on 46.5% shooting from the floor and 39.1% shooting from behind the three-point line.
In addition to adding Russell, the Lakers also snagged Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in the same deal. As far as their other trade deadline moves, the Lakers also grabbed Mo Bamba from the Orlando Magic, and a bit earlier in the season, they traded for Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards.
Lakers Removed ‘Vampire’ From Locker Room
With the trade for Russell, the Lakers also got Westbrook off the team. And according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Westbrook was a “vampire” in the Lakers locker room.
“This was the time to do it,” McMenamin said on ESPN’s NBA Today. “Russell Westbrook was not gonna be part of the team after this summer when his contract expired. And also when his contract came off the books, the Lakers would have less money to deal with in the free agency period this summer. So you had to do it if you wanted to get those pieces you could have part of the team moving forward. You get younger, you got shooting, you got switchable defenders, and as one source told me, you remove a vampire from the locker room. That meaning a vampire sucks the blood out of the locker room. Russell Westbrook moves on.”
Mo Bamba Goes Viral for Trade Reaction
In addition to the deal for Russell, the Lakers also added Bamba, who is set to make a solid impact at the center position for LA, as they could use some extra help at that spot.
However, while the move for Bamba should give the Lakers some necessary help, his reaction to the trade was just as great.
When the trade was announced, Bamba posted an image of himself standing in front of a moving truck with a smile. He was clearly excited to join the Lakers, and fans immediately made fun of the fact that he was so ready to make an exit from Orlando.