There has been a lot of buzz surrounding D'Angelo Russell and his future with the Los Angeles Lakers. This comes as no surprise considering how it has been a roller coaster ride for him in LA since arriving in a blockbuster mid-season trade. In particular, D-Lo's inconsistencies in the NBA Playoffs have led to a lot of questions pertaining to whether or not he's the right fit alongside LeBron James and Co.
NBA insider Jovan Buha of The Athletic has now provided a mixed bag of updates on what the future may hold for Russell in Hollywood. When asked if he feels that $22 to $24 million per year for the former All-Star on a new two-year deal would be a win-win agreement for both sides, Buha revealed that this might be outside what the Lakers might be willing to shell out:
“I think that’s a slight overpay for Russell considering his inconsistency in the playoffs and the current free-agent market. … I think Los Angeles can squeeze Russell closer to the $18 million to $20 million range annually,” Buha wrote.
The Lakers have a lot of crucial personnel decisions to make this summer, with perhaps none more significant than the future of Austin Reaves, who is also set to become a free agent this offseason. LA will need to squeeze out as much money as they can wherever possible in order to give Reaves the best deal they can, and unfortunately for him, D'Angelo Russell could suffer the consequences of the same:
“The difference between Russell at $18 million and Russell at $25 million annually could be consequential. If Russell performed better in the postseason, this would be a different conversation. But on multiple nights, he was the Lakers’ fifth- or sixth-best player behind James, Davis, Reaves, Hachimura and sometimes even Schröder. It’s hard to justify paying him anything over $20 million annually,” Buha wrote.
At the end of the day, the good news here is that the Lakers seem willing to offer Russell an extension — at least according to Jovan Buha. However, the 27-year-old might need to sign for a bit of a discount if he really wants to stay in Los Angeles.