The Los Angeles Lakers won’t pursue a max extension with guard D’Angelo Russell, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
Russell, who is eligible for a two-year, $67.5 million extension by June 30, is set to become an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason.
“Russell is eligible to sign a two-year, $67.5 million extension by June 30, which the Lakers will not pursue at the max number, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN,” McMenamin wrote.
The Lakers acquired Russell in a three-team deal before the trade deadline in the 2022-23 season, and he played well for the team, helping the Lakers reach the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.
However, things sort of fell apart for Russell in the Western Conference Finals against the Denver Nuggets.
After playing well in the second round of the playoffs against the Golden State Warriors, Russell could not find his shot against Denver. In the four games the Lakers played against the Nuggets, Russell shot just 32.3 percent from the field and 13.3 percent from beyond the arc.
He averaged just 6.3 points per game in the Western Conference Finals after putting up 17.4 points per game for the Lakers during the regular season. To make matters worse, Russell had a plus/minus of minus-47 in the Denver series.
The Lakers could still look to bring the former No. 2 overall pick back, but it seems like they don’t want to commit a massive salary to him.
It makes sense given the fact that the Lakers have other players they need to bring back in free agency as well, including guard Austin Reaves and forward Rui Hachimura. Two other rotation players, Dennis Schroder and Lonnie Walker IV, are also set to become unrestricted free agents for the Lakers this offseason.
Russell can be a valuable player for the Lakers, but he may not be worth a max extension after his struggles against Denver. The Lakers have to prioritize depth on the roster, and giving Russell a massive deal may make it harder for the team to keep other free agents while not exceeding the league’s luxury tax threshold by too much.
On the whole in the 2022-23 season, Russell averaged 17.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from beyond the arc.