From gleaming prospect to locker-room terror. From young budding star to untristowrthy snitch.
After showing flashes of what looked to be a promising skill-set, things turned sour for D'Angelo Russell after the infamous Nick Young video went viral on the internet, with the media, fans, and teammates distancing themselves from the young guard. In what was already a pretty nightmarish season, it was only the final nail in the coffin for a team looking to regain the spotlight of their glory days.
He was traded to Brooklyn in the summer of 2017 and hasn't looked back since. And, as he prepares to play in his first ever All-Star game, reflecting on a now broken Laker team, thankful that he was let go before the real mess even started.
“I can’t imagine what they’re trying to block out,” Russell said to Bleacher Report's Leo Sepkowitz. Adding later that, “If [the Lakers] didn’t let me go then, they were gonna let me go now, and I’d be going through what they’re going through. Best thing that happened in my career.”
The trade deadline was hard on the Lakers. Basically, every name was included in a leaked package for Anthony Davis, meaning players ultimately know there's a good chance they'll be dealt sooner rather than later.
Since then, the team has been in a bad way, losing games and their morale in the process.
It's not easy to block out the trade noise, which is why Russell is thankful he doesn't have to deal with it now. Looking back, there's probably a lot of things the Lakers would change. But, for D'Lo, he wouldn't give anything to change his status -- or, at least, that's what he says.