One prominent NBA analyst believes the Los Angeles Lakers will sign a $138 million All-Star in the offseason.
It just so happens that he’s already on the team.
In a May 3 column called “2023 NBA Free Agency: Best Available Guards and Their Top Landing Spots,” Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report wrote that D’Angelo Russell re-signing with the Lakers “seems inevitable.” The lefty becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and has played well in his second stint with the purple and gold.
“Russell has been a welcome fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the viable floor spacer Russell Westbrook couldn’t be for the team. L.A. may not offer as much as he’s currently earning ($31.4 million in the final year of his deal), but Russell could earn a similar deal to Jalen Brunson’s $26 million-per-year contract,” Pincus wrote. “The Lakers will have to mind the rest of their roster to avoid significant tax penalties with the new rules, but that shouldn’t get in the way of bringing back the 27-year-old guard. Russell could look for more elsewhere but may find the market is sparse. Most of the teams that could use him can’t afford him. The teams with money that may need a point guard include the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz. Houston may prefer Kevin Porter Jr. over Russell, assuming James Harden doesn’t join the franchise. The Magic, who have several young guards like Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony, may not target Russell. A return to Los Angeles seems inevitable.”
The Lakers acquired Russell from the Minnesota Timberwolves at the February trade deadline. The Ohio State product averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists while shooting 48.4% from the field and 41.4% from beyond the arc with the LakeShow in 17 regular-season games.
Russell helped the Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the playoffs in six games by averaging 16.7 points and 5.8 assists. He had 31 points in Game 6, a contest the Lakers won by 40 points.
D’Angelo Russell Wants to Be the PG of the Future for the Lakers
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Russell wants to re-sign with the Lakers, who drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft. Russell will have made over $138 million in his career once this offseason starts.
“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,” Wojnarowski said on March 12 (h/t RealGM). “He wants to be the point guard of the future for this organization. He’ll be a free agent this summer.”
According to ESPN NBA front-office insider Bobby Marks, Russell is eligible through June 30 to sign a two-year, $67.5 million extension with the Lakers. If the Louisville native and Los Angeles can’t come to terms on an extension, Russell will hit unrestricted free agency.
D’Angelo Russell Praised Anthony Davis After the Lakers Won Game 1 Against the Warriors
Russell praised Anthony Davis after the Lakers won Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Golden State Warriors. Davis had 30 points, 23 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in 44 minutes.
“Big. Huge. Huge. Huge performance,” Russell said. “He’s been dominating the playoffs. Gets a lot of hate from the media throughout the year, and I wasn’t a part of it, but I don’t know what you could say about the guy. He’s on the court for almost the whole game. Last series, he dominated when he’s out there. Never asked for a sub. Never asked for a break. If he can play, he’ll dominate the game. If he can’t play, he can’t play.”
The Lakers are 5-2 in the 2023 playoffs thus far.