NBA Insider Reveals Bombshell Intel On Lakers Star’s Future Plans

DAngelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, NBA News
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Amid the Los Angeles Lakers’ challenging NBA playoff series against the Denver Nuggets, the future of guard D’Angelo Russell with the team is becoming a hot topic.

On a recent episode of The Hoop Collective Podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst expressed his belief that it’s “likely” Russell will opt out of his player option for the next season to enter free agency.

Last offseason, Russell secured a two-year contract worth $36 million with the Lakers, with the second year offering an $18.7 million player option. Despite not being in the final year of his contract, the structure of his deal led the Lakers to consider him in trade discussions during the season.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers Updates

Speculation around Russell intensified when the Lakers showed interest in Atlanta Hawks guards Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Los Angeles proposed a trade involving Russell, rookie guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, a 2029 first-round pick, and more, but Atlanta declined to engage.

Ultimately, the Lakers did not make any major moves and instead focused on securing a playoff position, which they achieved by winning 12 of their final 15 regular-season games and defeating the New Orleans Pelicans in the play-in tournament to clinch the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

Russell played a pivotal role in the Lakers’ late-season surge, averaging 18.0 points and hitting a career-high 41.5 percent of his three-point attempts. Given his performance, it seems probable that he could command a higher salary than the $18.7 million player option if he chooses to test the market.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles Lakers Updates

However, Russell’s inconsistency has been evident in the playoffs, particularly against the Nuggets. While he managed a 23-point outing in Game 2, his overall playoff performance has been erratic, highlighted by a scoreless Game 3.

With his potential free agency looming, Russell could find opportunities with teams needing shooting skills, including the Lakers themselves, making his decision to explore the market a logical step.

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