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D’Angelo Russell Gets Blunt About Ex-Lakers Teammate: ‘I’m Here and He’s Not’


If there’s one thing the media and fans have learned about D’Angelo Russell during the 2023–24 season, it’s that the Los Angeles Lakers guard is brutally honest. Russell doesn’t pull punches and responds candidly to even the toughest questions, which proved true once again when discussing his time in Los Angeles in a recent interview.

Specifically, Russell opened up about being benched during the 2023 NBA Western Conference finals. The 28-year-old guard bluntly admitted that his former teammate, Dennis Schröder’s strong relationship with Darvin Ham, left him unable to build his own dynamic with the Lakers head coach.

“[Schröder’s] relationship with Darvin is the reason I couldn’t have a relationship with Darvin,” Russell told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

“When I was struggling, I would’ve been able to come to the coach and say, ‘Bro, this is what we should do. Like, I can help you.’ Instead, there was no dialogue. … I just accepted it.”

Russell offered one final assessment of that situation, and it highlighted just how blunt and honest he can be.

“And we got swept and I’m here and he’s not. And I like our chances,” Russell told ESPN of Schröder.

Russell has played the best basketball of his career in recent months.

Jayne Kamin / Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Not long ago, Russell was at the center of virtually all trade reports and rumors surrounding the Lakers. When that chatter intensified the month or so ahead of the Feb. 8 trade deadline, he responded with arguably the best stretch of play in his career. It was a stellar run that hasn’t slowed down since.

Russell went from averaging 10.2 points and 5.4 assists per game on 41% shooting in December to marks of 22.7 points and 6.0 assists on 48.8% in January. His three-point shooting numbers improved drastically, jumping from 32.7% to 45.9% in one month.

While his shooting marks remained north of 40% in February, he’s once again elevated his play during the Lakers’ playoff push. Through the first five games of March, Russell is averaging 22.0 points per game while knocking down 51.9% of his field goal attempts and 48.8% from beyond the arc.

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