Are the Lakers looking to trade D’Angelo Russell?

The NBA trade deadline is quickly approaching us. Three weeks from today, the deadline will have come and gone. Rumors of players switching teams are surely set to generate buzz around the league, but it appears the Los Angeles Lakers have a head start on everyone else.

On Wednesday, there was chatter about the team trading for Miami Heat center, Hassan Whiteside. Later on the day, however, a more realistic report stated that the Lakers have everything that the 27-year-old desires in free agency in July. That makes more sense than a team trading for an impending unrestricted free agent in a lost season.

Today, a much more alarming name has been thrown into the trade rumor mill: D’Angelo Russell. According to Brian Geltzeiler of hoopscritic.com, the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft has been made available in trade talks.

Update: Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News and Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated have both refuted the rumor, so take it with an entire salt shaker rather than just a grain.

Russell and head coach Byron Scott have obviously had their issues this season, whether they want to acknowledge them or not. In this case, though, it would be one of the worst things the Lakers have ever done if they side with a coach that doesn’t appear to have a job for much longer over a potential star point guard.

For all we know, this is likely one of countless rumors that we will hear over the next three weeks, and could carry no weight whatsoever. If it does, though, it presents a problem. Of course, it all depends on the return, but with fans already upset, trading away a player that fans are immensely excited about having for the future would be foolish. This may all just be the Lakers seeing what is out there and gaging what they would actually be able to get for the rookie. For a fan base already beginning to grow impatient with the front office, shipping Russell away would be a very difficult sell for Lakers management to make.

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