Last offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers dealt emerging young guard D'Angelo Russell to the Brooklyn Nets. Nine months later, that trade looks like a win-win. The Lakers were able to offload Timofey Mozgov's contract to clear the cap space they'll need to potentially offer two max contracts this summer. The rebuilding Nets got an explosive scorer.
At this point, it's not clear if D-Russ is a franchise player, but he's certainly a valuable asset. In an interview with Marc Spears of The Undefeated—who's done some phenomenal work lately—Russell said he wants to make his mark on the Nets franchise and leave his L.A. years behind.
"A lot of guys take advantage of their opportunity after they get traded or after they get drafted somewhere and go to another place," Russell told Spears Tuesday. "That is where people remember them from. I want to build my legacy here. I got drafted to L.A., but I don't want people to remember me from [the Lakers]."
Russell is averaging 15.6 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. He's shooting a career-best 42 percent from the field. Russell compared the ascent he envisions to that of Chauncey Billups.
"I don’t want L.A. to be any part of my legacy as far as what I left behind," Russell said. "Guys don't know that Chauncey Billups was drafted by the Celtics. Guys remember him from Denver and Detroit, stuff like that."
That being said, Russell is thankful for his two years in L.A.
"It was good. I learned a lot from it," Russell said. "It opened my eyes a lot in terms of the business standpoint of this league. It just gave me a better blueprint on how to be a professional."
The Nets fell, 114-101, to the Warriors Tuesday. Russell put up 22 points, eight assists, and three boards.