The D’Angelo Russell trade was not only tough on the Lakers fan, but it was also difficult for his teammate as well. Larry Nance, Jr. came into the league with Russell with both being apart of the 2015 NBA Draft.
In an interview with Alex Kennedy on the Hoopshype podcast, Nance, Jr. talked about his emotional reaction to the Russell trade:
“It was tough. That’s another part you don’t necessarily think about. You’re like ‘Oh I want this guy and this guy, this guy, I’d love to play with that guy’ but you don’t really think who’s got to go in order for that to happen. With D’Angelo going, that’s the last guy remaining from my draft class with our team. Me and him kind of had a little bit of a bond there. Overall, just a really good teammate, really good guy, so I’m sad to see him go.”
Nance, Jr. and Russell got drafted by the Lakers together and developed an amiable relationship with one another. When news broke that Russell got traded to the Brooklyn Nets, Nance, Jr. was the first Laker to show solidarity to his former teammate.
Despite not being on the Laker anymore, Nance, Jr. wishes to see Russell succeed on the Nets:
“But at the same time, I hope he just tears it up in Brooklyn. I hope he averages 40, except when he plays us. He’s obviously shown he can shoot it, drive it, do what he needs to do. He’s a great passer and everything. I think he’ll have a lot of success in Brooklyn and be part of turning that thing around.”
Some might question Russell’s character and attitude, but Nance, Jr. showed that he loved and enjoyed playing with him. It will be interesting to see the former teammates face off on opposing sides next season.