New Lakers Star Goes Viral With Cryptic Message After Blockbuster Trade

Rob Pelinka

Getty Head coach Darvin Ham and Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers.

After more than a year of rumors, the Los Angeles Lakers made a Russell for Russell blockbuster trade by orchestrating a reunion with D’Angelo Russell as part of a three-team deal for Russell Westbrook. Russell took to Twitter to react to the news of his move back to Los Angeles.

The newest Laker shared an old image of Muhammad Ali without any text in a tweet met with more than 37,000 likes and 2,000 retweets in the hours following the message. Here is a look at Russell’s tweet that has NBA fans buzzing.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst noted on a February 9 edition of “Get Up” that fans should expect to see a rejuvenated Lakers team now that Westbrook is no longer with the team. Russell is a former All-Star who is averaging 17.9 points, 6.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 39.1% from long range during 54 starts this with the Timberwolves this season.

Los Angeles also landed Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt as part of the three-team deal with the Jazz and Timberwolves. The Lakers traded away Westbrook, a 2027 first-round pick (top-four protected), Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones as part of the blockbuster deal.

Russell is in the final season of a four-year, $117 million contract and comes with a $31.3 million salary for 2022-23. The star guard will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Lakers Selected D’Angelo Russell With the No. 2 Pick in the 2015 NBA Draft But Traded D-Lo in 2017

The Lakers selected Russell with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA draft with the star playing his first two season in Los Angeles. Russell averaged 14.3 points, four assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game during his two years with the Lakers. Los Angeles later traded Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez and the No. 27 pick ahead of the 2017 NBA draft.

On paper, the deal looks like a major win for the Lakers and keeps the team open for potential moves down the road. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor labeled the deal as “shocking” that Los Angeles only had to include one future first-round pick in the trade.

“It’s actually shocking that L.A. was able to pull this deal off for just one future first that is protected from landing in the top four,” O’Connor wrote on February 8. “Even if the Lakers are terrible in 2026-27, they could still keep their pick. And if it doesn’t convert, it becomes just a second-round pick. This means that this coming offseason the Lakers will be able to trade their 2025 and 2029 first-round picks, and be able to offer swaps in 2028 and 2030, giving them flexibility to make more moves this summer.”

The Lakers Would Have Likely Sent Russell Westbrook Home If the PG Was Not Traded

Westbrook was not long for the Lakers even if general manager Rob Pelinka was unable to find a new home for the former All-Star. The Lakers would have likely sent Westbrook home if a trade was not completed, per Windhorst.

“I would almost say that if Russell Westbrook was not traded yesterday, that there was a decent chance that the Lakers would have sent him home,” Windhorst explained during a February 9 episode of “First Take.”. “… Russell and Malik Beasley are going to help them instantaneously spread the floor. They’re going to be a much improved team.

“But the second prong is Russell Westbrook was sent away, and that’s going to be a big factor. I don’t know if it’s going to be enough for these Lakers to make a run, especially in such a star-studded Western Conference. I do think that by talent now they have a team that’s a playoff-talent team with AD and LeBron leading it. But I also think that you will see a bounce from this team once Russell Westbrook is gone.”

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