The Los Angeles Lakers may be on the way to a major reunion this summer.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers have “serious interest” in signing point guard D’Angelo Russell, who was drafted by the team in 2015:
The Lakers have serious interest in Nets restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell, L.A.’s former No. 2 overall pick and former starting point guard, league sources said. The Lakers’ interest in Russell is real, and has been described as something that the organization has had partly due to their familiarity with Russell. After all, they traded Russell to the Nets in 2017 before drafting Lonzo Ball. Russell has blossomed into an All-Star, a top free agent, and the Lakers would pursue him by utilizing part of the expected $24-28 million in salary cap space. His restricted status will make a potential signing interesting, considering the Nets have the right to match.
The Brooklyn Nets have the ability to match any offer sheet for the point guard. However, previous reports have indicated that they would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent if they sign Kyrie Irving, a transaction that is widely expected to happen.
Russell was traded in a salary dump by the Lakers to get off Timofey Mozgov’s contract. His relationship with the organization, and particularly former team president Magic Johnson, has been icy.
However, with Magic gone and the one-time All-Star’s market dwindling before free agency even begins, a rekindled partnership between the two sides makes more sense now than ever.
The Lakers have been aiming to add a third star alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. With the organization seemingly behind other teams in the race for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Irving, Russell may be the type of talent they can acquire.