The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of rebuilding the franchise. With the impending exit of Kobe Bryant, the NBA team is yet to figure out who among the up and rising stars will be the face of the group. Throughout the offseason, the rumor mill kept churning out stories pointing at D'Angelo Russell as the Black Mamba's protegee. However, the No. 2 NBA draft pick appears to be failing to reach the expectations set by the Los Angeles Lakers.
As the NBA season progresses, the Los Angeles Lakers made very minimal changes in the lineup. However, one major move seemed to signify the team's direction regarding who might not be around long enough to witness the completion of the rebuilding process. In the middle of the season, Byron Scott took out Russell from the starting lineup and placed him on the bench. As the sixth man, the rookie was content in watching his teammates set the tone in the first minutes of the games.
The rumors regarding Russell's inability to fit in with the Los Angeles Lakers were fueled by reports of his rift with Scott. The head coach is said to be critical of the rookie's attitude. That is, Scott feels that Russell might be too confident for his own good. As if to further prove the possibility of Russell's exit, speculations are now surfacing that the Los Angeles Lakers are considering a trade involving the rookie.
"In talking to people around the league on who has been made available in trade talks a very surprising name has come up: DeAngelo Russell," disclosed Brian Geltzeiler of Hoops Critic via Twitter.
Some sources feel that the attitude problem of Russell, in which he pushes for more time and responsibility in the hardwood court despite being a rookie, might be the root of the trade rumors. While the Los Angeles Lakers have yet to comment on the issue, Scott's comments on Russell might shed a bit of light on the trade speculations.
"I saw the last couple minutes that he was in that he was really trying to take over the game, and that's not him yet," Scott said via ESPN, explaining his move to bench Russell in the 92-90 loss of the Los Angeles Lakers in the hands of the Dallas Mavericks. He added, "I want the ball to move a little bit. I thought it stuck with him. He tried to make the big shots and things like that. I understand that, but to me, that's not him right now."
However, a conflicting report surfaced that claims the Los Angeles Lakers have no intention of trading Russell.
"Conferred w/ several league sources: Lakers have "definitely not" made DeAngelo Russell available, view he and Clarkson backcourt of future," claimed Jake Fischer of the Boston Globe. The reporter further shared that the initial trade information regarding Russell had general managers flooding the phone lines of the Los Angeles Lakers.