NBA Execs Predict Market For D’Angelo Russell

As I noted on Wednesday when I singled out a few restricted free agents poised to land lucrative multiyear deals this summer, few RFAs-to-be are better positioned than D’Angelo Russell.

The Nets‘ point guard has enjoyed a breakout season in 2018/19, establishing new career highs in PPG (20.5), APG (6.8), FG% (.436), 3PT% (.368), and a number of other categories. He has been a driving force behind Brooklyn’s push for a playoff spot, and is expected to cash in in a big way during the 2019 offseason.

[RELATED: Community Shootaround: D’Angelo Russell’s Free Agency]

With that in mind, Michael Scotto of The Athletic spoke to a handful of executives around the NBA to get a sense of what Russell’s market might look like this July. The consensus? He should be among 2019’s highest-paid free agents.

“He has had a great year,” an Eastern Conference general manager said of Russell. “There’s no reason to believe he will not stay at this level.”

“He’s going to be in high demand and will get close to max with his overall improvement,” a Western Conference executive told Scotto.

As our early maximum salary projections for 2019/20 show, based on a $109MM salary cap, Russell could earn a contract worth up to $158.05MM over five years with the Nets. If he signs with another team, his projected max would be $117.18MM over four years. That raises another question: Will the 23-year-old re-sign with Brooklyn or ink an offer sheet with another team, forcing the Nets to make a tough decision?

While Scotto doesn’t explicitly identify any teams that will pursue Russell this offseason, he notes that the Pacers, Suns, and Magic are among the clubs expected to be in the market for a point guard. Indiana has the most cap flexibility of the three, but Phoenix and Orlando could both create the space necessary to pursue Russell, depending on their roster moves.

The Nets also have a history, under GM Sean Marks, of making aggressive offers to rival RFAs, having forced the Heat, Trail Blazers, and Wizards to match big-money deals for Tyler Johnson, Allen Crabbe, and Otto Porter, respectively. At least one of the executives who spoke to Scotto wondered if another club will turn the tables on Brooklyn this time around.

“I think D’Angelo is worth around $20MM (annually),” the longtime Eastern exec said. “Is this payback time for the Nets? Will teams offer him the way they (Nets) did for Crabbe, Porter, and Johnson? I think he turned the corner. I think he has a chip on his shoulder.”

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16 thoughts on “NBA Execs Predict Market For D’Angelo Russell

  1. Freddie Morales

    Brooklyn is absolutely going to be re-signing him at a near Max level deal. He will hold off on signing a new deal to try to keep space open for another max level free agent. Otherwise, they will turn to the 2nd tier like a Mirotic and Jamychal Green before finalizing deal for D-Lo.

    • stevep-4

      Exactly. Their starting lineup would be lethal with him, and Dunn would be an excellent NBA backup brought in to protect the lead.

  2. Nets likely will try and get him done close to, or if need be at, the 109/4 level, prior to the moratorium.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      I’m thinking he signs for 4/105 or 5/130. KAT is getting a max and he’s dropping 25 and 12 a night, and probably All-NBA 3rd team. I agree he will wait to sign after they get a big fish. With his cap hold Nets will still have about $40 Mil to work with. They’ll go after KD, Kawhi, or Jimmy Buckets and probably end up with Jimmy. Then resign Dlo, and with the 10-12mm left over go after a stretch 4 like Mirotic. Ed Davis getting the BAE, room exception for Demarre and we’re top 4 in the East.



      Send Crabbe to Dallas for C Lee to save 6 Mil if needed.

      • Itrainsontuesday

        I don’t see Butler going to Brooklyn. He’s recently said he accepts his role in Philly and they can offer him more money, and most likely will to keep their core 4 together.

        • Z-A

          Sixers have to offer him a contract hell accept bc they cant add a player better than Jimmy in FA and keep Toby.

      • Nets’ cap space (less DR’s cap hold of 21 mm) is about 33-35 mm. But if DR signs an offer sheet above 21 mm (1st year) then his cap hold goes up to that. Teams can formally submit signed contracts to the league in whatever order they want after the FA season, but an offer sheet changes the cap hold instantly. Even if an offer sheet is less than max, it will be front loaded to make it a tough match. Nevertheless, the Nets could be a sleeper for a top FA and they’ll have dozens of ways to get additional space IF (the hard part) one wants to come there. I don’t see Butler leaving Philly though.

  3. Thronson5

    I think he likes it where he is at and will stay. Yea he can get more money by staying but I just think he genuinely likes it where is and the team is surprisingly better than expected this year with the chance to get even better next season so I don’t see why he would leave.

  4. imindless

    If the nets dont offer max dlo will be a sun to play with his childhood buddy booker. A combo of booker and dlo would be nasty and fun to watch.

  5. DynamiteAdams

    If you’re Brooklyn, you definitely wait for him to sign an offer sheet right? Sure someone could be a jag and give him a backloaded contract but they’d save about 35+ million (assuming someone gives him their max) in cap space as opposed to maxing him themselves in the long run.

  6. x%sure

    The Nets have shown a tendency to want to retain players so I expect an early offer of 5/$100 or some such.

    But as I’ve been saying for a year and a half, Dinwiddie has better stats and runs a recognizable offense. He has stayed healthy and can one-step to a layup. He can start or not, adjust to others, and is controlled for 3 years more. Russell is a better tougher player but Levert can do what Russell does (when healthy). SD, Napier & Levert are all they need at PG; Levert, Harris & Crabbe at 2G.

    5/$158 is too steep. 5/$115 I would go to if no major frontcourt FA wants aboard. I suspect they will all look at Brooklyn but not sign. A Morris might.

  7. I don’t remember the Pacers ever going after a RFA, so I doubt they make an offer.

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