NBA free agency is upon us. On June 30, a cavalcade of stars will hit the open market, and suitors around the league will be clamoring to seduce them. Of course, most of the focus has been on where the top-tier players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard will end up, but there’s a whole host of secondary guys whose decisions could dramatically alter the NBA landscape.
D’Angelo Russell is one such player. The Nets point guard was in the running for the Most Improved Player Award this season (ultimately losing to a deserving Pascal Siakam) as he led a feisty Brooklyn team to a postseason appearance behind his stellar play and earned an All-Star nod in the process.
He’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer and is looking to cash on those accomplishments, and according to the latest rumors, he appears open to the possibility of returning to the team that drafted him, now that Magic Johnson is out of the picture. It also appears Magic has changed his tune toward Russell, after shoving him out the door two summers ago.
Via Billy Oram of The Athletic:
“Now he’s ready,” Johnson said. “He’s much more mature. I said the only thing, he was immature back then. He could always score, but the guys would never play with him because of what he did (with the Young video). But now all those guys are gone and he’s on another level now.”
Magic famously badmouthed Russell after trading him to the Nets, calling him immature and questioning his leadership skills, which left Russell taken aback. But with Magic no longer an executive, Russell may be more amenable to mending relations for an opportunity to team up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The Lakers desperately need a point guard now with Lonzo Ball shipped to New Orleans in the Davis deal, but we’ll have to wait at least until June 30 to find out whether the two sides are serious about a reunion and whether they can make it work financially.