The Los Angeles Lakers’ decision to trade former second overall pick D’Angelo Russell has been talked about endlessly. There are many opinions to be had about whether it was a smart move or not for LA.
What hasn’t been a hypothetical, thus far, has been Russell’s progress in his third season. Playing in the Nets’ free-flowing offense, the guard is averaging 21.7 points per game on 47 percent shooting.
On Friday, Russell will visit the STAPLES Center for the first time since being traded, potentially looking for revenge against the franchise that traded him and promptly criticized his leadership as he had one foot out the door.
In fact, one of Russell’s former teammates thinks Russell will be aiming for that revenge. Jordan Clarkson, one of Russell’s closest friends on the team, told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN that he believes Russell will be trying his hardest to score in bunches against his former team:
“Oh, he’s going to be fired up,” he said. “S–t, he’ll try to go for 30? 40? I don’t know how many shots he’s gonna put up. He’s gonna come in here, he’s gonna try to get a win for sure. He’s definitely going to put them up.”
Julius Randle, another friend of Russell’s who also shares the same agent, is also looking forward to Russell’s attempts to get revenge:
“He kind of got a fresh start. He still was in a major city in Brooklyn, New York. He’s obviously doing very well,” Randle said, before adding: “[Russell will be] extremely fired up. Who wouldn’t be?”
This all comes after Luke Walton speaking about being happy for Russell and “keeping tabs” on the young star.
The Lakers’ defense has been impressive in the early parts of the season but they will have their hands full with a talented young scorer looking for an emotional win.