Lakers chose D’Angelo Russell over Mike Conley in Russell Westbrook trade

Lakers chose D’Angelo Russell over Mike Conley in Russell Westbrook trade

Shortly after they traded for Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2021, the Los Angeles Lakers realized experimenting with him simply wouldn’t work well.

They started to explore trading him last winter, but the pickings were slim as far as potential trades that would bring back some type of value, as well as teams that were even willing to entertain such a trade.

One of those teams was the Utah Jazz, and there were reports going back several months that L.A. was engaging them on a possible Westbrook deal.

Once the outline of a deal started to come together, it had the opportunity to acquire veteran point guard Mike Conley in return, but according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, the Lakers opted for 26-year-old D’Angelo Russell instead because of his youth.

Via HoopsHype:

“When the Lakers made that deal, part of it was getting off Russ’ contract and getting out of that situation, but they could’ve potentially had Mike Conley in that deal,” Buha told Michael Scotto. “They looked at D’Angelo Russell as someone who could be their point guard of the future and potentially that lead ball handler and third-star type of guy that could fit around Anthony Davis and LeBron.”

Conley is 35 years old, and his best days are clearly behind him. In addition, a player his age wouldn’t have fit with the Lakers’ fast-breaking style of offense.

Russell, on the other hand, has done very well in his brief time in L.A. His ability to attack in transition, set up teammates and strike from 3-point range have made him a nice fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Buha also noted that the Lakers have “very strong interest” in signing Russell to a new contract and that he believes the feeling is “mutual on both sides.”

The point guard will be a free agent this summer.

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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire