D'Angelo Russell was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and expected to play a key role in their future, which may happen in a much different way than originally anticipated.
Brian Geltzeiler of Hoops Critic reported Thursday that Russell's name has come up in trade talks.
Continue for updates.
Russell Tweets Following Rumors
Thursday, Jan. 28
While Russell didn't address the trade rumors specifically, he tweeted after Geltzeiler's report:
Russell Struggling Through Rookie Season
Russell has taken some time to find his groove this season, averaging 12.0 points and shooting 41.4 percent overall, but he's heated up lately with 12.5 points per game and a field-goal percentage of 44.1 in January.
There have been some moments with Lakers head coach Byron Scott seemingly trying to teach Russell lessons in a public fashion.
According to ESPN.com's Baxter Holmes, following Los Angeles' 92-90 loss against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, Scott said he benched the former No. 2 pick late in the fourth quarter for playing cocky:
I don't think he's there. I just think he feels right now that he's got a lot of confidence in himself. Like I said, that's a good thing. You don't get this far without having that. And sometimes you don't get this far without having a little cockiness, as well. But you don't want that to overshadow the confidence that he has.
I think when you get cocky, you're thinking that there's nothing that you can't do. And if you think that, then you stop working.
The Lakers announced in December that Russell and Julius Randle would be coming off the bench.
It seemed like a curious move since the team owned a 3-17 record at the time—things haven't gotten much better over the next six weeks, as the team is 9-38—and because the struggling Lakers should be giving their young talent as much playing time as possible to have success in the future.
Whether Russell is really on the trade block or the Lakers are just dangling a talented young player to force a team to offer an insane package, there's been enough public turmoil between the two sides this year to think something may be happening behind the scenes that could lead to a deal before the Feb. 18 trade deadline.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.