D’Angelo Russell - Guard, Los Angeles Lakers (Medium-Brainer)
On the surface, the fit of Russell on the Hornets is far from ideal. He’s a ball-dominant guard who needs high volume and is a liability on defense. But ignore the fit for a second because the Hornets need talent first and foremost, and Russell is talented.
Rumors have cooled recently, as Russell has played well, but for a while, the snag in a potential Lakers trade for Dejounte Murray (or a similar star), was finding a team to take on Russell. The Hornets are in a great position to jump in and help facilitate this deal, as they could likely even get a draft pick for their troubles.
Russell wouldn’t be a great fit with Ball, but he could be an excellent sixth man for the Hornets. However, the point of acquiring Russell (outside of whatever else comes with him in the deal) would be to flip him again down the road.
There will eventually be a team that needs shooting and ballhandling, and Russell can provide that in spades. His contract is seen as a bit high now, but he’ll be on an expiring $18.7 million deal next year, which shouldn’t be prohibitive at all, and may actually be ideal for salary matching this offseason, or at next year’s deadline.
Do I love the player and fit? Absolutely not. But I do love the idea of getting multiple draft picks just for employing a solid NBA player for half a season or so. This is the type of forward-thinking move the Hornets should be in on.