If you think you’ll catch D’Angelo Russell playing pickup basketball on NYC courts anytime soon…
FORGET ABOUT IT! He’s hanging ’em up.
Preparing for one of the most offseason of his young NBA career, D’Angelo Russell told me on Sunday that he’s retired from pickup basketball.
“I’m done playing pickup man,” he said.
“It’s not safe, it’s not safe.”
Seems like Russell is making sure that he remains injury-free.
Any type of injury could put a damper on how free agency pans out for him.
The restricted free agent still loves NYC nonetheless. “I love this city,” Russell told me.
“It’s a city that loves basketball.”
Does NYC love him?
NBA free agency begins at 6 PM ET this Sunday, with June 30 and rumors have swirled that West Orange, New Jersey native, Kyrie Irving could potentially signing with the Nets.
Irving grew up liking the then-New Jersey Nets when they ran the NBA’s Eastern Conference during the days of Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson.
Irving was a fan of Kidd.
“Watching him play was a pleasure,” Irving told me of Kidd when he was hired as head coach of Brooklyn back in 2013.
As for D’Angelo Russell he’s got no shortage of suitors, also. He had a magnetic All Star season, this year with season averages of 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 7 assists; career bests.
The Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and his old team,t he Los Angeles Lakers are said to have interest in the point guard.
Speaking of the Lakers, former Lakers team President, Magic Johnson traded Russell to the Nets June of 2017 along with Timofey Mozgov to create salary cap room and acquire a draft pick that became Kyle Kuzma.
Johnson also made the trade to make way for Lonzo Ball, who is also no longer with the Lakers.
Though a restricted free agent, Russell is still a Net, at least for now.
This season, he helped guide the Brooklyn Nets to a 42-40, 6th place finish in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. “Kenny Atkinson has done a tremendous job,” FS1’s Chris Broussard told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“Everybody, you know, knows their role, everybody plays very hard, those guys are really good. I think they’re going to hold on and make the playoffs and they are making this is a great recruiting tool or a great recruiting season, I guess, for a free agent because a free agent can look at that situation and say, “man, I go in there and we’re ready to really compete with the top teams in the East.”