Fans found themselves on cloud nine after the Los Angeles Lakers managed to pull off the unthinkable and acquire three solid role players in D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt in exchange for Russell Westbrook’s expiring deal and a top-four protected 2027 first-round pick. Russell, in particular, is a former All-Star (albeit as an injury replacement) and his skillset makes him a better fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Of course, one additional subplot in the aforementioned blockbuster trade is that Russell is returning to the franchise that drafted him with the third overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft. The Lakers basically used the sheen of Russell’s prospect luster to rid themselves of Timofey Mozgov’s onerous contract, dealing away the southpaw guard in a trade for the pick that became Kyle Kuzma and Brook Lopez.

Nevertheless, it’ll be exciting to see what D’Angelo Russell does in his return to donning the purple and gold. From playing with the legendary Kobe Bryant in his final season to helping advance LeBron James’ cause in his 20th year in the NBA, Russell’s career has taken plenty of interesting turns. But could Russell really be the trade piece the Lakers need to make the postseason this year?

Here are a few bold predictions for the 26-year old guard’s return to the Lakers following a seven-year separation.

*Watch NBA games LIVE with fuboTV (click for free trial)*

4. D’Angelo Russell will not entertain the thought of snitching again

The biggest story of D’Angelo Russell’s career back when he was just a rookie came when he caught his former Lakers teammate Nick Young on video admitting that he had cheated on his then-fiancé Iggy Azalea. Azalea, as one might recall, left Young in the aftermath. Another entire discussion is needed to talk about the merits of monogamy, toxic masculinity, and questionable locker room talk. But one thing’s for sure: Russell broke the trust of his teammates by posting the aforementioned video, ruining what Lakers players back then thought was a safe space.

Of course, Russell was just a 19-year old back then. Who didn’t make mistakes when they were 19? With LeBron James around to hold him in check, Russell better fall in line. And there aren’t any indications that Russell won’t. Aside from a half-season stint with the Golden State Warriors, Russell hasn’t had plenty of leadership figures around to help him out. With James commanding the respect of the entire locker room, it’ll be difficult to see Russell kicking up too much of a fuss by airing his team’s dirty laundry.

3. D-Lo beefs with another teammate

Following D’Angelo Russell’s trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, reports came out stating that the 26-year old guard didn’t even try to hide his displeasure with the Timberwolves’ marquee offseason acquisition in Rudy Gobert. Russell publicly dissed Gobert’s offensive skill (or lack thereof), which led to a complicated locker-room dynamic.

Live and breathe the NBA?

🚨 Get viral NBA graphics, memes, rumors and trending news delivered right to your inbox with the Clutch Newsletter.

Russell definitely respects people who have game. He won’t be beefing with Anthony Davis or his old teammate Jarred Vanderbilt as a result. But the Lakers should not rule out the possibility that Russell could grow irked with Mo Bamba or Wenyen Gabriel for bobbling easy catches, missing layups, and for a general stiltedness around the hoop.

Even then, as mentioned earlier, LeBron James’ presence should minimize the effect of whatever potential friction D-Lo would have with some of the Lakers’ big men.

2. D-Lo makes at least one game-winner during the stretch run

D’Angelo Russell may no longer be one of the most exciting guards in the association. However, he is still known everywhere after he popularized the famous “ice in my veins” celebration. So it’s only fitting if Russell turns back the clock and proves that he is still as clutch as ever by nailing at least one game-winning buzzer beater for the Lakers in the next few months.

Of course, it’s unclear how or why Russell would touch the ball with the game on the line. LeBron James should be priority number one when it comes to who takes the last shot for LA. But if the ball finds its way to D-Lo in crunch time, you best believe he’s going to take and make a cold-blooded shot.

1. The Lakers nab the eighth seed

Even with the improvements the Lakers acquired prior to the NBA trade deadline, making the play-in tournament, much less the playoffs, remains an uphill climb for the purple and gold. After all, there are currently seven contenders for four play-in spots, including the New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors. Even with their trade deadline moves, it’s difficult to count out the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers, while the Oklahoma City Thunder continue to impress with their burgeoning young core led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

And out of those seven teams, only two will make the playoffs. Count the Lakers as one of the teams that will.

At the moment, the Lakers are 2.5 games back of the 10th spot. But LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers will no longer have to figure out how to integrate Russell Westbrook after their blockbuster trade. They now look like a functional team in the modern NBA after adding players that can space the floor. Reshuffling the deck could also reignite James’ motivation, and there may not be a scarier player in the NBA than a motivated LeBron.