D’Angelo Russell’s first two years in the NBA were filled with drama, frustration, and inconsistencies, making some people wonder if the Los Angeles Lakers made the right decision to select him as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. Luckily for Russell, everything changed when the Lakers traded him to the Brooklyn Nets in the summer of 2017. In his second season of playing with the Nets, Russell managed to exceed the expectations and earned his first NBA All-Star selection.
D’Angelo Russell is currently playing the best season in his NBA career, averaging 20.5 points, 6.8 assists, and 1.1 steals on 43.6 percent shooting from the field and 36.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc. His performance in the 2018-19 NBA season will be vital as it will determine his value when he hits the free agency market next July. Michael Scotto of The Athletic recently spoke to several NBA executives to get their opinions about Russell’s market value.
Most of them reportedly agreed that D’Angelo Russell should be one of the highest-paid free agents in the 2019 NBA offseason. After an impressive season, an Eastern Conference general manager believes there’s no reason to doubt that Russell will remain as an All-Star caliber talent. Meanwhile, a Western Conference executive thinks that Russell will “get close to the max” in free agency.
“He’s going to be in high demand and will get close to max with his overall improvement,” a Western Conference executive told Scotto.
With his current performance, it is highly likely that D’Angelo Russell will get a huge payday next July. According to Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors, the max contract Russell can get from the Nets is five-year, $158 million and four-year, $117 million with another team. As a restricted free agent, the Nets only need to match offers from other NBA teams to bring Russell back, but as of now, it remains unknown how much Brooklyn is willing to spend for the All-Star point guard.
Once he hits the free agency market, D’Angelo Russell is expected to gain plenty of interest from NBA teams who need a backcourt boost, including the Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic, and Phoenix Suns. In the previous offseasons, the Nets were the one forcing other NBA teams to match lucrative contracts for their free agents. However, an Eastern Conference executive said that the Nets will be on the opposite side of the road in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“I think D’Angelo is worth around $20MM (annually),” the longtime Eastern exec said. “Is this payback time for the Nets? Will teams offer him the way they (Nets) did for Crabbe, Porter, and Johnson? I think he turned the corner. I think he has a chip on his shoulder.”