Report: Lakers have ‘strong interest’ in bringing back D’Angelo Russell next season

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have “strong interest” in bringing back point guard D’Angelo Russell in free agency this offseason.

Russell, who was acquired by the team at the trade deadline, is in the final season of his contract. The Athletic’s Jovan Buha told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto that he believes the interest is mutual between Russell and the Lakers.

“I think those feelings are mutual,” Buha said. “When the Lakers made that deal, part of it was getting off Russ’ contract and getting out of that situation, but they could’ve potentially had Mike Conley in that deal. They looked at D’Angelo Russell as someone who could be their point guard of the future and potentially that lead ball handler and third-star type of guy that could fit around Anthony Davis and LeBron [James].

“From what I’ve been told, the Lakers have very strong interest in re-signing him. I believe it’s mutual on both sides. It’s just going to come down to what type of deal does that look like?”

Russell, who was drafted by the Lakers with the No. 2 overall pick back in the 2015 NBA Draft, has put up some really solid numbers in the 2022-23 season. He’s averaging 18.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game while shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from deep.

After moving on from Russell Westbrook in the deal for Russell at the deadline, the Lakers have a bit of a hole at point guard beyond this season.

Dennis Schroder is a free agent following the 2022-23 campaign, and Russell (27 years old) makes sense to lead the team from that position for years to come.

The Lakers are likely going to have to give him a significant deal, but it was reported that the team is hoping to keep the current roster intact heading into next season.

A one-time All-Star, Russell has matured a lot since his early days with the Lakers when he had an infamous run in with teammate Nick Young after revealing that Young was cheating on his then-fiancée.

During his time with the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves, Russell has grown into a polished scorer, and he has averaged at least 5.2 assists per game in every season since leaving the Lakers earlier in his career.

As long as Russell continues to play well next to Davis and James, it makes sense for Los Angeles to keep him for the long haul. The Lakers, who are currently the No. 10 seed in the Western Conference, will lean heavily on Russell the rest of the regular season with James out of the lineup at the moment due to a foot injury.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.