Proposed Trade Sees Lakers Trade D’Angelo Russell for 12-Time All-Star

Nuggets' Michael Porter Jr. guards Lakers' D'Angelo Russell

Getty Nuggets' Michael Porter Jr. guards Lakers' D'Angelo Russell

A new trade proposal has the Los Angeles Lakers trading D’Angelo Russell for a 12-time All-Star.

In a May 24 column called “Trade Packages to Land Lakers a Star, Keep LeBron James Out of Retirement,” Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report proposed that the Lakers trade Russell to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul.

“It’s hard to decide which side of this deal might have to send some draft compensation (or a young-ish player). Chris Paul turned 38 this month, and he just capped another playoff run that ended with injury. The degree to which Russell was exposed by Denver’s defense was alarming,” Bailey wrote. “There are very real downsides with both point guards. So for now, we’ll default to just a straight-up swap.

“LeBron and CP3 have famously been friends for years. This would be their opportunity to finally assemble their version of the banana boat team. And Paul’s playmaking would give James more open shots manufactured by someone other than himself. Having to create your own buckets over and over is hard, especially as you approach 40. LeBron and Paul could help each other on that front.

“And though this tandem wouldn’t have a long runway, LeBron’s individual timeline isn’t sprawling either. Paul makes the team better than Russell does in the short term.”

As Bailey mentioned, James and Paul are very close friends. The two future Hall of Famers have privately talked about playing with each other for several years, sources told Heavy Sports, and this trade idea Bailey came up with could be the perfect way for that to happen.

LeBron James Is Not a ‘Fan’ of D’Angelo Russell

James is not a fan of Russell, according to Heavy Sports senior insider Sean Deveney. Russell played poorly in the Western Conference Finals versus the Denver Nuggets, averaging just 6.3 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 32.3% from the field and 13.3% from beyond the arc.

“I hate to say one playoff series can change a franchise’s whole outlook on a guy because that just does not happen, but it is happening with some of the people in that building, maybe most significantly, with LeBron,” one Western Conference executive told Deveney. “Is this a guy they want to invest in? Does LeBron want him back — there is talk that he is not Russell’s biggest fan.”

Russell becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Ohio State product is close pals with Suns shooting guard Devin Booker.

Does Chris Paul Have Anything Left in the Tank?

Paul averaged 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists this season for the Suns while shooting 44.0% from the floor, 37.5% from 3-point land and 83.1% from the free-throw line.

The 38-year-old suffered a groin injury in Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals versus the Nuggets and missed the rest of the series.

CP3 signed a four-year, $120 million contract with the Suns in August 2021. He has a partially guaranteed contract for next season. If the Lakers decide not to re-sign Russell and don’t go after Kyrie Irving, Paul could be an interesting option for them.

The purple and gold acquired Paul from the New Orleans Hornets in December 2011 before former commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade. The Hornets wound up sending Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers.