D’Angelo Russell Likely to Choose Free Agency, May Leave Lakers

In the basketball world, there’s a big question about D’Angelo Russell’s future with the Los Angeles Lakers. The team is fighting hard against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference playoffs. D’Angelo Russell’s plans for next season are uncertain, but some say he’ll probably say no to his current contract to become a free agent.

D'Angelo Russell

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective Podcast, Russell might decide not to stick with his current deal. Last year, he signed a two-year contract with the Lakers for $36 million. The second year of the contract gives him the choice to either stay with the team or become a free agent and explore other options.

Even though Russell’s contract wasn’t about to end, the Lakers still talked about trading him during the season. When there were rumors about the Lakers being interested in Trae Young and Dejounte Murray from the Atlanta Hawks, Russell was part of the discussions.

the Hawks weren’t interested in taking D’Angelo Russell back

D'Angelo Russell

Reports say the Lakers offered Russell, rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino, a future first-round draft pick, and more to the Hawks for Murray. But the Hawks weren’t interested in taking Russell back.

Instead of trading Russell, the Lakers decided to keep him and hope for the best. This strategy paid off to some extent as the Lakers managed to secure a spot in the playoffs. They won 12 out of their last 15 games in the regular season and also won against the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament to claim the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

Russell played a significant role in the Lakers’ success during the regular season. He scored an average of 18.0 points per game and achieved a career-high three-point shooting percentage of 41.5% by attempting 7.2 shots per game from beyond the arc.

Looking at his performance, it’s highly likely that Russell will earn more money in his next contract compared to the $18.7 million he would get if he stays with the Lakers.

D’Angelo Russell’s weaknesses have been evident in the playoffs against the Nuggets

D'Angelo Russell

However, Russell’s weaknesses have been evident in the playoffs against the Nuggets. He struggled with his shooting in Game 1 and Game 3, only making one out of nine three-point attempts in the former and going scoreless in the latter.

Although he had a good performance in Game 2, scoring 23 points with seven successful three-pointers, most of his points came in the first half. His performance dropped significantly in the second half, where he only scored five points.

Considering the high demand for players with good shooting skills, many teams, including the Lakers, might offer Russell a better contract this summer. So, it’s understandable why he would want to explore his options in free agency.

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