NBA Rumors: D’Angelo Russell Could Return To Lakers

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D’Angelo Russell was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers with the second overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, as a guard out of Ohio State.

Russell’s tenure with the Lakers, which lasted for only two seasons, was generally remembered as a disappointment, and his most famous moment as a Laker, per SB Nation, came when he filmed a video where teammate Nick Young admitted that he cheated on his then-girlfriend, Iggy Azalea. The video, however, was soon released.

In 2017, when Russell was only 21-years-old, he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets and was seen to have greatly improved as a player, while helping the Nets improve after many years as one of the league’s worst teams. This offseason, Russell will become an unrestricted free agent if Brooklyn renounces his salary cap hold, and with Kyrie Irving possibly headed to the Nets, Russell is expected to find a new team.

According to a new report, he could head back to the Purple and Gold.

Per a Twitter post from Bleacher Report writer Arye Abraham, the Lakers are interested in a reunion with Russell.

“A source within the Lakers organization not authorized to speak publicly has confirmed to me that the Lakers have strong interest in free agent guard D’Angelo Russell,” Abraham tweeted. “I’m told the Lakers [front office] plan to have a face to face meeting with Russell at the beginning of free agency.”

The Lakers, following their trade with New Orleans, now have a team centered on LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They certainly have a need for a guard with Russell’s specific skill set, although fitting Russell into their limited cap space would likely serve as a challenge.

As it stands, Russell is days away from entering restricted free agency, meaning that Brooklyn would have the option to match any offer sheet for him. But with the Nets possibly signing Irving, who plays the same position, they may very well let Russell sign elsewhere. If the Nets wish to sign Irving, they can renounce Russell’s rights and make him unrestricted.

Other teams mentioned as possible D’Angelo Russell free agency destinations include the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves. ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on a recent episode of his Lowe Post podcast that Minnesota has informed the NBA that “they believe they have a pathway” to sign Russell. However, the Timberwolves also have limited cap space, unless they can find a way to dump the contracts of Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague, and other players.

Russell, along with Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, is one of three players selected No. 2 overall by the Lakers in recent years. None of them are still with the team.