D’Angelo Russell Sounds Off on Contract, Lakers Trade Rumors

D'Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers star D’Angelo Russell is no stranger to trade rumors.

He’s been traded several times before. This time around, they started after he waived his right of refusal on any trade for the next year when he signed his two-year, $36 million contract.

Asked about the trade rumors and why he agreed to waive the right, Russell was direct.

“I don’t care at all. Show up to work,” Russell told reporters following the Lakers’ 124-118 win over the Charlotte Hornets on February 5. “I can’t control that my contract makes sense to be traded either. So, I mean, just play. Can’t control that. Once again, I don’t care at all.

“I just thought it made sense [to waive veto power]. Obviously, I’ve been here before. I played for the Lakers before, so I know what the requirements are to be successful here.”

Russell opened the season as the team’s starting point guard, with a strong endorsement from Head Coach Darvin Ham. Ham benched Russell, with support from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, during the team’s 6-8 slump in December.

The head coach reinstated Russell as a starter, helping to spark an 8-5 stretch since.

Russell is averaging 24.0 points and 6.5 assists while shooting 46.6% from beyond the arc in that span.

“If you’re part of the future here, you’ll be successful. If you’re not, you’ll get traded. And I’ve been traded before here, so my approach is just a little different. I really just genuinely humbly don’t care,” Russell said. “Because I know I can’t control it, one. And two, I just won’t allow my mind to go there. I like to focus on this.

“You guys see I’ve been focusing on basketball and not comments and what’s trending on social.”

Russell’s play has impacted the Lakers’ thinking at the trade deadline.

D’Angelo Russell’s Play Impact on Lakers’ Plans

“The Lakers were initially said to be willing to package Russell with a first-round pick in 2029 and a first-round pick swap in exchange for [Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte] Murray,” The Stein Line’s Marc Stein wrote on January 28. “That pursuit appears to have been dialed back some with Russell playing so well.”

That leaves them at a crossroads as their pursuit of Murray continues.

Action Network’s Matt Moore wrote of “billowing smoke” about a potential trade for Murray ahead of the deadline. But he also noted the change of heart on Russell has swayed opinions on a potential deal taking place.

“So what exactly are the Lakers going to trade for Dejounte (Murray), who the Hawks sent all those picks for,” a rival personnel director asked, per Moore on February 5.

Lakers’ Trade Candidates Have Low Value

The Hawks have keyed in on Austin Reaves. But the Lakers have not shown any interest in dealing him for Murray or any star of similar stature. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reported on January 26 that they would indeed trade him.

It would just have to be in a deal for a legitimate third star alongside James and Davis.

Outside of Reaves and Russell – whose value is still higher to the Lakers than in a trade – LA’s other trade candidates have little to no value on the market, per Buha.

With just one first-round pick at their disposal too, the Lakers’ best option could be standing pat.