There was a time not too long ago when D’Angelo Russell was seen as the future of the Lakers franchise. The first of a series of No. 2 picks in the NBA Draft, D’Lo was seen as the first young cornerstone of the franchise.

Obviously, that didn’t work out quite the way either side expected, though each were probably better for it. Russell left the Lakers, became an All-Star and led teams to the playoffs. The Lakers eventually landed LeBron James, Anthony Davis and an NBA championship.

But the sour taste lingered in the mouth of Russell, who has flourished in his return to southern California this season. During halftime of Sunday’s contest against the Knicks, a game in which Russell scored 23 first-half points as part of his team-high 33 on the night, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN discussed D’Lo’s return and his motivation.

“D’Angelo Russell very much wanted a second chance in LA with the Lakers and you’ve seen the impact he made coming back against Toronto the other night, playing great in a win, and again tonight. He wants to be the point guard of the future for this organization. He’ll be a free agent this summer.”