D’Angelo Russell Gets Brutally Honest on His Lakers Return: ‘I’m Not a Child’

D'Angelo Russell and Jonathan Kuminga

Getty D'Angelo Russell and Jonathan Kuminga

The Los Angeles Lakers acquired D’Angelo Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the blockbuster Russell Westbrook three-team trade with the Utah Jazz and the 26-year-old is excited for his second chapter with the purple and gold.

Russell, who was drafted by the Lakers with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft out of Ohio State, told reporters during his introductory news conference that he’s not a child anymore and is more mature now, both on and off the court.

“I’m a grown man now,” Russell said. “I’m not a child. I’m just excited to showcase it.”

Russell averaged 14.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in his first stint with the Lakers. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2017 after leaking a video of teammate Nick Young. Russell played two seasons with the Nets and turned into an All-Star, averaging 19.0 points and 6.3 assists across 129 games. However, Brooklyn traded the lefty to the Golden State Warriors in 2019 in the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade deal.

Russell played in 33 games with the Warriors before getting traded again, this time to the Timberwolves to play with his close friend, All-Star big man Karl-Anthony Towns. D’Lo averaged 18.5 points and 6.5 assists with Minnesota and helped the franchise make the 2022 playoffs.

Now back with the Lakers again, Russell — who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer — is eager to help the team make a playoff push.

D’Angelo Russell: ‘I Really Appreciate Being Back’

Russell put up 15 points and six assists while shooting 6-of-12 from the field and 1-of-3 from beyond the arc in his first game with the Lakers following the trade. Los Angeles defeated Golden State on February 11 by a final score of 109-103.

“I never hoped to be back here because I didn’t understand if I could be ready for it and be a part of what they were doing for the future because you never know what the team’s going to look like, so it’s hard to find stability in that,” Russell said. “But I’m here now and I really appreciate being back because I feel like I’m ready for everything that’s about to come for the team and whatever comes my way.

“I always feel like I’m an alpha, too. So whatever room I’m in, whoever I’m around, I’m going to feel like that, I’m going to walk like that. And when I get out on the floor, we’re going to figure that out as well.”

Russell is averaging 17.9 points and 6.2 assists on the season. He’s tied for 13th in the league in 3-point field goals.

The Lakers Are Interested in Extending D’Angelo Russell

The Lakers, who are 26-31, are reportedly interested in extending Russell, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

“I think for the Lakers, they’ve used that pick now. They’ve moved off of Russell Westbrook and now D’Angelo Russell is a player I think they do have interest in talking about a contract extension with,” Wojnarowski said on February 9. “Whether it’s during the season or after the season when he’s a free agent and can do a new deal.”

Russell has career averages of 17.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists with the Lakers, Nets, Warriors and Timberwolves.

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