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D’Angelo Russell ‘definitely’ wants to stay with Nets

Nets, D'Angelo Russell

After falling to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets are left to shift their focus to the offseason. Which players will remain on the roster for next season is still up for debate, but D’Angelo Russell says he’d like to stay in Brooklyn:

Russell, now 23 years of age, is developing into a fine young player for Brooklyn. The Los Angeles Lakers traded him to the Nets on June 22, 2017, along with Timofey Mozgov. In return, the Nets sent Brook Lopez and the draft rights to Kyle Kuzma to the Lakers.

It might be in Brooklyn’s best interest to keep Russell, as he showed flashes of brilliance at several points throughout this season. In 81 appearances with the team (all starts), the former Ohio State standout racked up averages of 21.1 points on 43.4 percent shooting from the field (36.9 percent from beyond the arc), 7.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 30.2 minutes per contest. His numbers were a bit down in the playoffs (19.4 points, 3.6 assists and 3.6 rebounds), but he still found a way to make his presence felt.

If the Nets were to let Russell go, however, they could have more than $50 million in cap space at their disposal to go after top-tier free agents. It’s also possible that Russell will attract a max offer as a restricted free agent, which could force Brooklyn’s hand. Perhaps an extension will be agreed upon before then.

Via Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report:

The timing is fortunate for Russell, who will be a restricted free agent this summer. Based on the league’s current $109 million salary-cap projection for the 2019-20 season, Russell will be eligible for a contract as high as $27.3 million in the first season. He can stay with the Nets for up to five years and $158.1 million or leave to another franchise for four years and $117.2 million.

Regardless, Brooklyn will have the right of first refusal.

The Nets took great strides this season. A 42-40 overall record in the regular season earned the team a sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. If they can manage to keep Russell on the books, they’ll likely be competing for a spot in the postseason next year.