D’Angelo Russell could consider returning to the Lakers.
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The 23-year-old, who made his first All-Star team with the Nets last season, “may be open to the idea” of heading back to Los Angeles, according to a report from Bleacher Report, which cites unidentified sources close to Russell.
Russell will be a restricted free agent this summer and Brooklyn can match any offer sheet he signs with another team. But, the Nets are expected to pursue Kyrie Irving, which may make Russell expendable. The Lakers also reportedly have interest in Irving.
The Nets exceeded expectations last season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15. They were topped by the 76ers in five games in their first-round series.
Russell averaged a career-high 21.1 points and 7.0 assists while shooting 36.9% from 3-point range in 81 games in 2018-19. He’s a finalist for the Most Improved Player award.
“If we’re being completely honest, I enjoyed the team that we had this whole season,” Russell told The New York Post about free agency earlier this month. “I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy our team, and the pieces we had around.”
Los Angeles originally selected Russell out of Ohio State with the second pick in the 2015 draft. He spent his first two seasons with the team before he was traded to the Nets in June 2017.
Russell is more likely to think about signing with the Lakers this summer after Magic Johnson surprisingly stepped down from his position of basketball operations after the season, according to Bleacher Report.
The guard has also been linked to the Pacers, Timberwolves, Magic and Suns, amongst others.
The Lakers completed one of the biggest trades in NBA history earlier this month when they acquired Anthony Davis from the Pelicans in exchange for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round picks.