The Los Angeles Lakers are having a good week. Machinations allowed them to keep their lottery pick and actually move up in the NBA Draft to No. 2. (They also retain their late-first-rounder, No. 28.)
So now, according to a SI.com report, LA is going to market with D'Angelo Russell ... and the media thinking is obvious.
D’Angelo Russell might be expendable because LA will draft UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball ... and therefore ...
With the Los Angeles Lakers coming away with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft following Tuesday night’s lottery, multiple NBA teams are evaluating trade packages for D’Angelo Russell, league sources told SI.com.
But one NBA source tells me this report is "premature.'' And, closer to home, I'm told that we shouldn't expect the Dallas Mavericks to be bidders here for one major reason:
The Mavs want to keep their pick at No. 9 overall.
Logically, the Lakers' asking price for Russell (chosen No. 2 overall in 2015 and averaging 14.3 points, 4.0 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game) would be a package that includes a first-round pick. The SI story mentions LA using Russell to try to trade for Paul George. This is lofty stuff, and out of Dallas' league ... Unless the Mavs want to sacrifice No. 9.
I'm told as of Tuesday that the coaching staff and the personnel department are very much against giving up the pick in trade for, say, Eric Bledsoe or Ricky Rubio. And now, on Wednesday morning, I've learned that the rest of the front office agrees with that view, and extends it to giving up No. 9 in this case, too.
The wildcard in Dallas decision-making, of course, as always, is Dirk Nowitzki. Mark Cuban and the front office believe they "owe'' Nowitzki and try to bow to his personnel wishes when possible. But in the case of giving up No. 9 in trade for the point guards who are being discussed in public? There seems to be a unified "no'' at Mavs HQ.