Lakers Fans Receive Surprise Update on D’Angelo Russell’s Future

The D'Angelo Russell saga in Los Angeles takes an unexpected turn.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers already kickstarted their offseason with a pair of selections in the 2024 NBA Draft. Dalton Knecht and Bronny James are the latest additions to the roster as the Lakers attempt to build a championship-caliber roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, the hard work starts now.

With free agency right around the corner, the Lakers need to nail their decisions on the open market and the trade block to maximize their chances of contention.

One of the biggest question marks about the Lakers offseason is D'Angelo Russell. The 28-year-old point guard has a $18.6 million player option for next year. The Lakers were hoping that Russell would decline that to become an unrestricted free agent, opening up some cap space for Los Angeles.

According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, however, the likelihood of Russell opting into that player option has increased significantly.

"To be honest with you, I don't have a great feel for what this is going to be. I thought maybe a month or so ago, D'Angelo would opt out. Now, I think there's a chance, a stronger chance he will opt in, because the market isn't looking so great right now."

Brian Windhorst, First Take

Perhaps this is not too surprising. There aren't too many teams with cap space out there who can use Russell's services. He is an offense-only guard who consistently disappoints in the playoffs. Not too many teams need a player of that type, especially on a multi-year deal with an annual salary of over $15 million.

This doesn't necessarily mean that the Lakers have to keep Russell. They can still trade him and would likely explore deals using his salary. However, it's safe to assume that a player who doesn't have much of a market in free agency will not have one in trade talks. The Lakers will need to sweeten the deal using a draft pick or a young player.

The Lakers already had a complicated offseason ahead of them. With this latest news, Rob Pelinka has an even tougher road to navigate while he attempts to build the best roster for new head coach JJ Redick.

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