This offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to effectively replace D’Angelo Russell by selecting former UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick in the draft.
It created an awkward aura around the situation, especially with Russell deciding to attend the Las Vegas Summer League earlier this month. During a recent interview on The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski, Russell made it clear that he has no disdain for the 19-year-old.
Brooklyn guard D'Angelo Russell joins The Woj Pod: What he's found with the Nets, Lakers years and exit. Art19: https://t.co/w5euQqewdr
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 26, 2017
“Summer League was cool though to be around the atmosphere, but a lot of people made it bigger than what it was with that kid. I don’t really know him or have any negative about him. He was just coming to where I consider home, so of course, you are going to feel some type of way. That wasn’t anything on him. People made it bigger than what it was. At the end of the day, you are still a professional basketball player and I enjoy that.”
This perception was quickly misconstrued given that Ball is the player that the Lakers have decided to hand the reigns to as their starting point guard. The front office, led by team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka,already voiced their aspirations for him to become the next face of the franchise.
It’s something that Russell didn’t fully receive from the team in his first two seasons, as he faced constant criticism directed at his maturity and work ethic. In fact, it contributed greatly to him never fully getting that opportunity in Los Angeles.
That said, Russell has an opportunity in front of him to do just that with the Brooklyn Nets, as the franchise has made it clear from the get-go that he is the player that the franchise wants to build around. Meanwhile, the Lakers appear to have found a promising player that could lead them back to relevancy in the league in the near future.