All season long, the Los Angeles Lakers were scouring the market for a starting point guard due to the awkward fit of Russell Westbrook.
After failing to pry Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, in part due to their reluctance to part with multiple first-round picks, it seemed as if guard Mike Conley would eventually join the veteran-laden roster when it was reported that the Lakers had engaged in trade talks with the Utah Jazz.
However, the Lakers pivoted away from that trade, instead opting to make a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. While Conley is the more complete player, an all-around talent whose defense and leadership separate him from his fellow Ohio State alum, D'Angelo Russell was the younger player and the more aggressive scorer.
In fact, his relative youth seems to be the primary reason that the Lakers chose him over Conley, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.
“Some factions of the Los Angeles front office preferred a younger ballhandler than Conley to support LeBron James and Anthony Davis, sources said, and maintaining future financial wiggle room was of some priority to the Lakers.”
At 27-years-old, Russell isn't just a little younger than the 35-year-old Conley, so it wasn't like the Lakers front office was splitting hairs in that assessment. Furthermore, although L.A. has to prioritize the present moment and having 38-year-old LeBron James as the face of the franchise, they also have to look at the future.
Russell, who the Lakers actually drafted in 2015, could be their point guard for the foreseeable future. If they want.