Insider Predicts Star Free Agent to Get 2 or 3-Year Contract From Lakers

rob pelinka

Getty Los Angeles Lakers GM Rob Pelinka.

The NBA season isn’t even over yet and the Los Angeles Lakers roster rumors are heating up. The team was able to turn the season around after a horrific start. Much of that was thanks to the efforts of trade deadline additions D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura.

Despite the late-season success, there have been many suggestions that the team needs another roster overhaul this offseason. The Lakers have been linked to big names like Kyrie Irving, Trae Young and Chris Paul. However, the team might still be leaning toward running it back. One of the biggest decisions they have to make involves Russell.

The veteran guard is a free agent and will likely be looking for a big chunk of money. He played well for the Lakers at times but was nonexistent in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha is still predicting that Los Angeles will end up signing Russell this offseason.

“If he wants a certain number, whether it’s closer to $25 million, maybe you go shorter term and give two years, $50 million, and you’re on the same timeline as LeBron and Anthony Davis. … I suspect a two or three-year deal,” Buha said on the “Hoopshype” podcast. “I think re-signing him is the most likely outcome.”

Is Keeping Russell the Right Call?

It’s difficult to argue against the fact that Russell struggles in the playoffs. He scored a combined 25 points in four games against the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. Considering he doesn’t make much of an impact on defense, he needs to be much better on offense. Prior to this run with the Lakers, he played in just 11 playoff games combined in his career. Perhaps all he needed was more experience and he’ll be ready to improve his play next season.

Regardless, the Lakers might not be too concerned about his playoff performance. They already have two proven playoff stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James. The team may look at Russell as a player who can play a lot of games in the regular season and keep the offense moving. He’d be a solid third-scoring option for the team. Plus, signing Russell to a reasonable deal allows the Lakers to keep Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves.

What About Chris Paul?

The Lakers need to solidify their point guard position this offseason whether that’s signing Russell or somebody else. Chris Paul is expected to get waived by the Phoenix Suns soon and odds are that he’ll end up a free agent. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers will be one of the teams that shows interest in the 12-time All-Star.

“I’m told Chris Paul and his reps, they want an answer on his future sooner than that June 28 deadline,” Wojnarowski said. “They want to know if they’re headed into free agency where he would be certainly very coveted, especially with the two teams in L.A.: the Clippers, the Lakers, where he still keeps his offseason home.”

Paul is much older than Russell but he’s more of a true point guard. The Lakers could even explore the possibility of having both of them but that might lead to too many cooks in the kitchen.

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