Star guard D’Angelo Russell played the best basketball of his career last season, helping the Brooklyn Nets make the playoffs for the first time in four years and now he will enter free agency.
Russell was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in his young career and he’s someone who the Nets could build around. Brooklyn will be an attractive free agent destination in the summer and according to a SportsNet New York report, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Tobias Harris will at least consider signing with the team:
Several league sources have told SNY that top-tier free agents, including Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Tobias Harris, will at least consider Brooklyn this upcoming July when it’s time to find their next home – if they decide to leave.
“Making the playoffs definitely helped their chances,” one source said
If the Nets fail to land a star in free agency, Russell should definitely be back next season but if they get one, it could be the end for him with the Nets if he expects a deal at a starting value of $20 million.
On his end, Russell understands that the Nets want to be better than they were and he’s willing to be a part of that.
Nets General Manager Sean Marks was recently asked about Russell’s future:
“He’s obviously one of our more talented players,’ Marks said. ‘You (reporter) said that we’ll have decisions. D’Angelo is going to have decisions, too. That is a little bit of the nature of this business. But at the end of the day, our job is to continue to put talent on the floor for Brooklyn.'”
Suns Could Be a Potential Landing Spot
D’Angelo Russell averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds, shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range in 30.2 minutes over 81 games and many teams need point guard help next season, so he could definitely land a lucrative contract.
Russell proved he has All-Star-level talent and he can still get better. Opening up enough cap space wouldn’t be easy but the Suns would make a fascinating landing spot for Russell.
A backcourt with Russell and Devin Booker would be deadly, both are terrific scorers who could play off each other and they’re not afraid to take shots in high-pressure situations.
Russell and Booker would make the Suns competitive and they’ve had a strong friendship off the court. They first met as teenagers at the Nike Elite 100 camp in St. Louis for the top high school players in the country and they’ve been close ever since.
Russell even posted a photo of Booker donning his All-Star jersey over two months ago. He had this to say about playing with Booker at the team’s end-of-year presser:
Booker has also been asked about the prospect of playing with his close friend and this is what he told Newsday:
“I would love to play with him. He makes people around him better. He’s a dynamic player. He has the utmost confidence in himself that I don’t think will change ever. That’s why we have the relationship that we do.”
The Suns would have a hard time making this happen, first, they have to remove the cap holds for their six free agents, including Kelly Oubre, Dragan Bender and Richaun Holmes and let each walk.
Still, doing that would just open up $16.7 million in cap room and Russell could make at least $20 million a year on the open market. Trading someone like T.J. Warren could facilitate things but they would be sacrificing a lot of talent just to sign one player. Getting Russell is not impossible and the Suns should at least consider this option.