The Pistons might be going in a different direction ahead of Thursday’s NBA draft — and that could mean trading the No. 12 pick.
ESPN’s Chad Ford tweeted early Tuesday morning that the Lakers, who already have the Nos. 2 and No. 28 picks in the first round, are interested in obtaining an additional lottery pick.
“Sounds like Lakers are dangling D’Angelo Russell in effort to get another Top 12 pick. Luke Kennard & Zach Collins appear to be targets,” posted on Twitter.
Reports have circulated that the Lakers have worked out both Collins and Kennard in recent weeks, though neither would be a likely selection with the second or 28th pick.
It’s an intriguing scenario for the Pistons, who reportedly have gauged interest in starting point guard on the trade market, both at the trade deadline and in the offseason.
It likely would be a more complicated deal than just Russell for the No. 12 pick, as the salaries would need to match and Russell will make $5.6 million next season, with a $7 million team option the following year. The Pistons likely would get the No. 28 pick in return, with some other players involved.
The Lakers could afford to part with Russell if they opt to take one of the top point guards, Lonzo Ball or De’Aaron Fox, with the No. 2 pick. Russell, the second overall pick in the 2015 draft, averaged 15.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists for the struggling Lakers last season, but they could be trying to adjust the roster to make a play at trading for the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George.
Reports indicated that George desires to go back to his hometown of Los Angeles when his contract is over after next season, setting the stage for a potential trading frenzy.
Russell, 21, has good size at 6-foot-5 and could add some scoring punch for the Pistons. Russell, who is left-handed, shot 35 percent from 3-point range, the same as Jackson, last season.