Free agency is less than two months away and it seems D’Angelo Russell is playing career-best basketball at the right time.
Each time Russell takes the court, it seems he is sending a message to the Lakers front office – that being he wants a long-term roster spot.
The point guard has made it clear that LA is where he wants to stay but having played for five teams in eight seasons, he is realistic about his expectations.
“I would love to stay here, but I would have loved to be in Minnesota too,” Russell told The Athletic. “So wherever my feet are, that’s where I’m gonna be.”
The 27-year-old has been part of the Lakers’ revitalised roster since the February trade deadline and came to the franchise as part of the three-team Russell Westbrook trade.
He has averaged 14.5 points, 5.3 assists and four rebounds in four games this postseason.
Russell was traded to Minnesota in February 2020 but admitted he felt under-utilised there.
“I felt like I was held back there, honestly,” Russell said. “I just kind of had to be the third option. Some nights, I was a little more aggressive and was kind of being held back. So to be in a position now where I can kind of thrive and be aggressive and it gets guys going, and where the team reflects off of anybody with that type of energy, it’s fun.
Russell and Austin Reaves have been combining on the court nicely as the purple and gold chase a championship and also give LeBron some much-needed support. James didn’t even shoot a shot until the second quarter in Game 3.
LA’s front office will definitely have a hard time replacing Russell with a similar calibre player with their cap restrictions if they did decide to move on from him this summer during free agency.
“They’ve got a decision to make, don’t they?” Russell said. “So we’ll see.”