NBA Rumors: Lakers trading D’Angelo Russell for a top-12 pick

PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers

Despite having the No.2 and No. 28 picks in the 2017 NBA draft, the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly trying to acquire another first-round pick. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Lakers are willing to trade D’Angelo Russell for a top-12 pick.

In the NBA draft lottery, the Lakers grabbed the No. 2 pick, giving them the opportunity to add another talented player on their team. They also owned the No. 28 pick in which they acquired after trading Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets. However, the Lakers want more.

NBA Rumors: LA Lakers willing to trade D’Angelo Russell

According to Ramon Shelburne of ESPN, the Lakers are trying to acquire another first-round pick in the upcoming draft. They have engaged in trade talks with at least two lottery teams. The Lakers are eyeing to improve their outside shooting and perimeter defense.

The move makes sense for the Lakers, especially if they want to end their playoff drought next season. They ended the 2016-17 NBA season with the worst defensive efficiency, allowing  110.6 points per 100 possessions. They also ranked 24th in the offensive efficiency, scoring 103.4 points per 100 possessions.

ESPN Insider Chad Ford reported that the Lakers are dangling D’Angelo Russell to get a top-12 pick. Los Angeles is reportedly keeping an eye on Luke Kennard and Zach Collins. The report came as a surprise since Russell was considered as the team’s best player since they sent Lou Williams to Houston. Despite his inconsistencies, Russell averaged 15.6 points and 4.8 assists on 40.5 percent shooting from the field and 35.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Does trading D’Angelo Russell makes sense?

With the Lakers reportedly zeroing in on Lonzo Ball with the second pick, trading D’Angelo Russell wouldn’t be a good move. Russell and Ball are projected to be an excellent backcourt tandem next season. Ball’s passing and playmaking skills undeniably fit well with Russell’s game.

However, the Lakers could be planning something big behind the potential D’Angelo Russell trade. As most people think, the Lakers want to unload Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, who are considered as the worst signings of the 2016 NBA free agency. However, in order to trade both veterans and their expensive contracts, the Lakers need to sacrifice one of their young players or a first-round pick.

Trading Russell makes sense if it means Deng or Mozgov’s contract will be removed from their book. However, if the Lakers are only planning to swap Russell for a top-12 pick, they should think twice before making any move.

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