Insider Says Lakers Star Will Opt for Free Agency in 2024

D'Angelo Russell

Getty D'Angelo Russell

When the NBA offseason arrives, the Los Angeles Lakers might have to decide whether to bring back D’Angelo Russell around for the long haul, because Russell will opt out of his contract and test free agency, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

“I think almost certainly he will not pick up the option,” Windhorst said on the April 8 episode of his “The Hoop Collective” podcast. “You work your whole life to be coming off a great season and being unrestricted.”

In his first full season back with the Lakers after signing a two-year, $36 million contract with a player option in 2023, Russell has been a valuable cog in their performance. In 73 games, he’s averaged 18.2 points and 6.3 assists. He is also shooting nearly 46% from the field and 42% from three.

Russell helped the Lakers return to the Western Conference finals in 2023 after his trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves. His appeal as a scorer and as someone who can help a winning team could land him another expensive contract. The Lakers will have to decide whether they will pay him.

D’Angelo Russell Wants to Stay With Lakers

Though it appears Russell will opt of his contract with the Lakers, he stated that he would like to remain with the team.

He explained why he would like to remain with the Lakers, sharing his thoughts on becoming a free agent.

“I’d love to be here and continue to give it a run and be where my feet are now,” Russell told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto in a March 27 story. “Obviously, I’ve been on the other side of it, and I’ve been through the roller coaster of free agency and having to sit back and wait. I’m looking forward to not having to worry about that. I’ve been blessed enough to put myself in this position with my play. I’m definitely planning on taking advantage of that. When that time comes, I feel that everything will play out how it’s supposed to play out.”

Russell, 28, may also prefer a longer-term deal than the two-year contract the Lakers signed him to, but the Lakers also have LeBron James‘ potential free agency to worry about. That could also factor into Russell’s future with the team.

D’Angelo Russell Believes Jaxson Hayes Will Get Pay Raise

After the Lakers lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves on April 7, Russell explained why he believes Hayes will make more money in the offseason.

“He was amazing,” Hayes said, per ClutchPoints’ Michael Corvo’s X account. “He’s going to make a lot of money this summer. Main stage, all these nights teams get to see (him) dominate his minutes. He’s playing behind (Anthony Davis) all season, and whenever he gets just a little bit of time, he dominates it. So, kudos to him. He’s been hanging in there all year doing everything we needed him to do. Like I was saying, he’s going to make a lot of money this summer.”

Hayes is a former lottery pick who played for the New Orleans Pelicans from 2019 to 2023. In 67 games with the Lakers, he averaged 4.3 points and three rebounds as their backup center.