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D’Angelo Russell to be courted by Jazz, Magic, Timberwolves, Pacers in free agency

D'Angelo Russell

Still just barely less than a month away from free agency, the market for D’Angelo Russell is already materializing. According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, the Brooklyn Nets guard is expected to garner interest from the Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Indiana Pacers, as well as his incumbent team, as a restricted free agent this summer.

A market is forming for Nets All-Star and restricted free agent DeAngelo Russell: Utah, Orlando, Minnesota and Indiana are among the teams expected to show an interest aside from Brooklyn, sources said.

Russell enjoyed by far the best season of his four-year in 2018-19, his second with the Nets after being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers in advance of the 2017 NBA Draft. He notched career-highs across the board of 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game while shooting 43.4 percent overall and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc on a high volume of attempts, en route to his first All-Star berth.

Still just 23, Russell hasn’t even reached the beginning of his playing prime, leading many to believe that he’s only just scratching the surface of his potential. But much of his offensive success last season was driven by world-class shot-making, including from floater range, an ability he hadn’t previously exhibited on anywhere near a consistent basis. As such, and coupled with his innate defensive limitations, there’s a disagreement among league followers on the trajectory of his career from here.

Regardless, it goes without saying that negotiations between Russell and interested teams come July will begin with his desire for a max-level contract. The Nets, who possess his Bird Rights and can also match any offer sheet he signs with a competing team, will definitely have enough cap space to offer him the max, while achieving that level of financial flexibility would be a relatively easy chore for the Magic and Jazz. It’s unclear how the Timberwolves, though, would realistically create enough room to offer Russell the contract it would take to sign him.