As the L.A. Lakers try to extend their three-game winning streak against the Denver Nuggets, the franchise could keep D'Angelo Russell past the trade deadline, despite rumors involving the guard all season. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the recent play of D'Angelo Russell and the trade "landscape" has made a possible trade with Russell unlikely.
Russell has played extremely well as of late, averaging 23 points, and 6.8 assists per game. The Lakers have been trying to move Russell almost since the franchise re-signed him last offseason. The point guard is a clear liability on the defensive side of the ball and it's hard to justify L.A. giving Russell deep minutes in the playoffs if he isn't creating offense every single possession.
Are the Lakers doing the right thing in keeping D'Angelo Russell?
While Russell has played a lot better in recent weeks, the Lakers are probably doing the wrong thing in not trading D'Angelo Russell at the trade deadline. While the point guard is a solid veteran in this league, he is a huge liability in the playoffs. This will be an extreme weakness for L.A. as the franchise will be lacking additional shot creators if Russell's defense makes him unplayable in a series.
Even if the Lakers are insistent on not giving up a first round pick, the squad can probably make a competitive offer for Tyus Jones if they choose to offer some of their remaining second round picks. Jones would be a clear upgrade for the Lakers and the franchise would not have to worry about any defensive issues from the ball-handler spot.