On Tuesday night, the Lakers traded former #2 pick D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov’s hefty contract to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick. It wasn’t a popular move with a lot of Lakers fans but when you consider they have another point guard (Lonzo Ball at the #2 pick) coming and getting rid of Mozgov gives the Lakers cap space to pursue bigger names, it was a smart business decision.
While thinking back about some of the most memorable moments Mr Ice In His Veins had during his two seasons with the Lakers, I only had to go back to his final game with the Lakers.
On the morning of April 9th of 2016, Russell found out his grandmother passed away. Coach Luke Walton and the Lakers staff assumed he was going to sit the game out as Russell pondered flying back home to Louisville. His father and other family members urged him to stay and play that night so he decided to give it a go . He ended up with 16 points, 4 boards, 4 assists, 3 steals and a buzzer beating shot that gave the Lakers a 110-109 victory.
After hitting the shot, he went into the crowd to hug his family members as Laker fans celebrated around him.
“R.I.P. my granny, man. I found out my granny was dead this morning, man,” Said an emotional Russell after the game. “That’s tragic. That’s God’s hands, man. I can’t really control that. That’s God making that shot. That shot was for my granny, man. I wasn’t even gonna play tonight. Honestly, man, that’s all God right there.”
“Honestly, I knew that’s what my grandma would have wanted,” Russell said. “My dad, my brothers, everybody wanted me to play. I wanted to get away from basketball.
“To win the game with a game winning shot, that’s God putting a cherry on top. A win would have been good enough.”
Russell also praised his grandmother after the win.
”She was a strong woman,” Russell said. “Like I said, she did a great job of raising my dad. Piggy-backing off that, my dad did a great job raising his sons and his kids in general; being a great father.
“That’s what she was put on this earth for.”
“You could tell he was hurting,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “I could tell it was painful for him, and it wasn’t easy to talk about, but you could see how much love he had for her when he was speaking about it, which was kind of awesome to see.”
Walton also said he got goosebumps just talking about how things turned out.
As much as D’Angelo probably wants to remain in purple and gold, moving to Brooklyn will probably turn out to be a good thing for his basketball career, which was often overshadowed by off the court drama such as his snapchat incident with Nick Young, verbal fights with fans and his rocky relationship with Coach Byron Scott.
Nets fans are probably pretty happy about getting the young star too considering they watched him torch the Nets for 39 points and 8 three-pointers in one game and 32 (17 in the first quarter) points, 8 rebounds and 7 three-pointers in another.