The Los Angeles Lakers have to be happy with everything they’ve seen from D’Angelo Russell since acquiring him from the Minnesota Timberwolves at the trade deadline. Although he’s missed effectively seven games due to an ankle sprain, he has still made an immediate impact.
Russell is averaging 21.1 points and 6.3 assists on 47.2% shooting from the field and 41.8% from three. He has helped lead the Lakers to some vital wins as they continue to play without LeBron James in the lineup. L.A. is 4-3 in their seven full games with Russell playing.
By playing as well as he’s been playing, he could be increasing his value as he enters unrestricted free agency this offseason. But there is reported interest that both Russell and the Lakers would like this to be a long-term pairing, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic via HoopsHype:
I think those feelings are mutual. When the Lakers made that deal, part of it was getting off Russ’ contract and getting out of that situation, but they could’ve potentially had Mike Conley in that deal. They looked at D’Angelo Russell as someone who could be their point guard of the future and potentially that lead ball handler and third-star type of guy that could fit around Anthony Davis and LeBron.
From what I’ve been told, the Lakers have very strong interest in re-signing him. I believe it’s mutual on both sides. It’s just going to come down to what type of deal does that look like?
It’s unsurprising at this point that there’s reported mutual interest in working out a contract this summer. Of course, nothing in the NBA is set in stone until it actually happens, and there is a lot of time between now and the beginning of free agency at the end of June.
There is a chance that Russell is seeking more than what the Lakers are willing to pay. And perhaps there is a team out there that is willing to pay Russell his desired price. A potential framework that could be similar to Russell is the Jalen Brunson contract handed out last summer.
The Knicks gave Brunson a four-year, $104 million contract with a player option after the third year. That’s an average annual salary of $26 million, which is actually less than the four-year, $118 million contract Russell signed with the Timberwolves in 2019.
L.A. not expected to pursue Kyrie Irving
One of the alternative routes the Lakers could go if they choose not to bring back Russell is, once again, Kyrie Irving. He is an unrestricted free agent, and a sign-and-trade could absolutely be worked out with the Dallas Mavericks.
However, as of now, there is reportedly no interest from the Lakers side that indicates they would go that direction this summer.
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