July 7: Russell’s new contract is now official, the Lakers announced (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic).
July 1: The Lakers and point guard D’Angelo Russell have reached an agreement on a two-year contract that will be worth $37MM, his agents at CAA Basketball tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Wojnarowski, Russell will hold a player option for 2024/25 as part of the deal.
Los Angeles acquired the 6’4″ vet, whom the Lakers initially drafted with the second pick in 2015, from the Timberwolves this past February. The Russell acquisition headlined a flurry of tactical moves designed to improve the club’s positional balance and add more shooting around stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The 27-year-old performed exceptionally well as a supplemental scorer and passer upon being installed as L.A.’s starting point guard. Across his 17 healthy regular season contests with Los Angeles, he averaged 17.4 PPG on .484/.414/.735 shooting splits, plus 6.1 APG and 2.9 RPG.
The playoffs were a different story. His jump shooting took a major dive, and opposing teams often targeted him on defense. Russell averaged 13.3 PPG on a .426/.310/.769 slash line, 4.6 APG, 2.9 RPG and 0.7 SPG in the playoffs.
Yesterday’s announced signing of ex-Heat point guard Gabe Vincent, a better defender who enjoyed a much better postseason, made Russell’s future in Los Angeles seem a bit more tenuous. Though Russell’s contract makes it seem like he will at least begin the season as the team’s starter, one wonders if that will be the case at the end of the season.