Per Chad Ford (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll) on ESPN 710 Radio with Allen Swila, Ford was not given this information by the Lakers organization. Ford stated that there were other organizations around the league that said the team was calling about acquiring another first round pick and “dangling” Russell as an option.
“Calling around to other teams around the league, it sounds like the prospect that [the Lakers] are dangling is to get a pick in that range is D’Angelo Russell. I don’t think that they have any deal, or necessarily that they’ll pull the trigger, but that’s been the exploratory guy that they’re looking at to see whether they can get a pick in the right sort of range.
“And again, it’s not like there’s a done deal with any of those teams or what have you, but they’ve started that process. Part of that is the due diligence of trying to figure out if they can get another pick in this draft, but that’s how they’ve gotten those players in… It sounds to me from talking to several rival general managers in that range that it’s been Russell that’s been discussed.”
Original Story Follows:
It wouldn’t be the NBA off-season without D’Angelo Russell trade rumors. Late Sunday night, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the Lakers were looking to move up into the lottery. On Monday night, Chad Ford added to it.
The news, naturally, took Lakers fans by surprise. By nearly all accounts, the Lakers have indicated they wanted to keep the young core intact. However, more recent reports, especially one from Kevin Ding, would indicate that the Lakers may not be sold on the young core, specifically D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle.
What is known is that trading Russell for a late lottery pick would be selling remarkably low on Russell. Two years removed from being the second overall pick, dealing him for a top 12 pick would be quite a startling move for a front office in desperate need of talent, which Russell has proven to have.
It should also be noted Chad Ford has little-to-no history of breaking reports like this, especially for the Lakers. Ford is a draft analysis more than he is a reporter. This report should taken with multiple grains (read: bags) of salt. If the Lakers were really shopping Russell for a lottery pick, Ford is likely not going to be the first, and only, guy reporting on it.
Whether or not this comes to fruition remains to be seen, but it’s certainly another surprising twist in an off-season already full of them for the Lakers.