The NBA is a fickle place, even when it’s coming from the stands.
During the Atlanta Hawks’ showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers on January 30, fans in the crowd rang out chants upon D’Angelo Russell. Russell has been at the center of trade talks revolving around Dejounet Murray.
“We don’t want you,” Hawks fans exclaimed in a video shared by The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, using that familiar pattern anyone who has ever attended a sporting event has heard before.
Russell was not having a good night, with four points and 0-for-3 shooting from beyond the arc at halftime. He did go on to knock down a triple in the second half. But the early showing was an example of just what potential suitors fear if they want to acquire Russell.
He has long been a streaky player and his recent stretch of success has followed that pattern.
Russell entered the contest having scored at least 20 points in seven straight contests and eight of his last nine outings.
The surge is said to have the Lakers – who had the unenviable task of finding a third team to take on Russell in a potential Murray trade – reconsidering their stance. It just so happens that that change of heart coincided with a strong surge by Murray.
The Hawks star entered the evening having scored at least 20 points in each of his last six contests, missing the Hawks’ win over the Toronto Raptors with hamstring tightness.
Murray’s strong play is said to also have the Hawks reconsidering their stance.
Insider believes Hawks, Lakers both posturing ahead of trade deadline
For all of the revelations, one league insider isn’t completely buying that either of the Lakers or Hawks are really against doing a deal now.
“[Murray] ... clearly does not mesh in the backcourt with Trae Young,” NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin wrote on January 29. This leak sounds like one side is trying to motivate the other through the media.
“This sounds a lot like what the Lakers are doing on the other side with D’Angelo Russell, who would be part of this trade and has played better of late and reportedly giving the Lakers pause.”
With less than two weeks until the trade deadline, there could be many more twists and turns ahead. But, for one night at least, the Atlanta faithful let it be known where they – and apparently the organization – stand on the idea of Russell being a Hawk.