The Los Angeles Lakers front office is currently at a crossroad, as there are a few different directions they can go with the organization.Paul George recently informed the Indiana Pacers that he plans to become a free agent next offseason with the intention of signing with the Lakers.
While that is good news to Lakers fans, a lot can happen in the next year as the Pacers are attempting to trade George as soon a as possible, with the Cleveland Cavaliers being a potential landing spot.
So if the Lakers want to ensure George ends up in Los Angeles, it may behoove them to trade for him now. That would require giving up some of the team’s young core though, with D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle’s names being brought out the most.
Both Russell and Randle were lottery picks by the Lakers in the last three years, but after a season in which neither showed as much improvement as some would like, people within the organization may be beginning to question if they are the right guys to turn the Lakers historic franchise around.
According to Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, both players’ ability to take criticism is one thing being questioned within the organization:
There is still a lot to like about both Russell and Randle as well, but there are also ongoing questions about how well they take criticism, according to team sources. Lakers head coach Luke Walton entered the season asking Russell to be less of a know-it-all and more of a leader for the group, while he hoped Randle would emulate Draymond Green in using every perceived slight as motivation. Though both players improved their games, neither advanced as far as Walton had hoped. Russell was inconsistent with his professionalism, and Randle often lost messages given to him if they were delivered harshly.
Randle is still only 22-years-old and Russell is just 21, so there is still a lot of room for growth and maturity, but if Luke Walton and the front office do not believe that will happen that one or both is dealt for George or perhaps even another lottery pick in this upcoming draft.
It was recently rumored that the Lakers are attempting to acquire that second lottery pick. Parting with either Russell or Randle could be necessary to score that pick if that is the goal.