Bulls trade rumors may have led to D’Angelo Russell sandbagging

As the February 8 trade deadline inches closer, the Chicago Bulls will be one of the top teams to watch. Despite the season turnaround that has them in the Play-In Tournament, they should still be viewed as a seller come deadline time, as multiple players on their squad have been consistently thrown around in rumors.

Zach LaVine has been involved in various reports since before his injury that kept him out from November 28 to January 5, and that’s still the case to this day. One of the teams he’s been linked to is the Los Angeles Lakers, and a trade there would likely include D’Angelo Russell.

In a recent article detailing the Lakers’ post-In-Season Tournament win hangover, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin revealed that sources he spoke to believe that Russell’s poor showing against the Bulls on December 20 was affected by the team he was playing.

“After the Lakers loss in Chicago last month, multiple sources told ESPN they worried Russell’s 1-for-6 performance could have been affected by the opponent,” McMenamin wrote.

Russell finished that game, a 124-108 win for the Bulls, with two points, one rebound, and two assists while shooting just 1-of-6 from the field and 0-of-4 from deep.

Obviously, there’s a chance that Russell simply had a poor shooting night, but he was very excited to rejoin the team he was drafted by when the Lakers traded for him last year.

With all the buzz around a potential LaVine-to-Los Angeles trade, and the notion that he would likely be included, it’s possible that he attempted to sandbag his performance that night in an attempt to dissuade the Bulls from striking a deal.

Story originally appeared on Lonzo Wire