D’Angelo Russell is an All-Star.
Bypassed by the Los Angeles Lakers for a newer model after being the No. 2 selection in the 2015 draft, Russell has found his niche in a career year for the upstart Brooklyn Nets, who are competing for a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, his replacement Lonzo Ball is coming off a trade deadline that saw him dangled alongside his teammates not named LeBron James in an effort to land Anthony Davis in L.A.
Does he miss the chance to play beside James under the bright lights of Lakers basketball? Not so much.
Russell told Bleacher report in a recent profile that he’s grateful for his L.A. exit.
“I can’t imagine what they’re trying to block out,” Russell said. “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.”
Things were not going great for Russell in L.A. He struggled with his shot and was finding his way as a playmaker for a franchise stuck in rebuild mode.
He’s best known with the Lakers for recording a conversation with Nick Young talking about women who weren’t his then-fiancée Iggy Azalea that later went public.
He was ostracized from his teammates, and the incident likely played a role in the Lakers moving on from him after two seasons. The lure of Lonzo certainly didn’t help his cause.
Now he’s the leader of a young playoff contender while the 28-29 Lakers are buckling under pressure and dealing with internal turmoil. He likes where he’s at.
“I’ve never won in this league, and it’s an art to win in this league,” Russell told Bleacher Report. “It’s so hard. To finally get some type of that, it’s like refreshing, you know? I’m just riding that wave.”
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