D’Angelo Russell

Lakers Notes: Rotation, Point Guards, Christie, Hayes, Davis

Breaking down the Lakers‘ potential lineup decisions for the 2023/24 season, Jovan Buha of The Athletic forecasts a 10-man rotation, led by stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

At this point, Buha favors incumbent Lakers D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Rui Hachimura – all of whom signed lucrative new contracts this offseason – to fill out the starting lineup. He predicts the 10-man rotation will be filled out by Jarred Vanderbilt, Max Christie, and newcomers Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, and Jaxson Hayes.

As Buha notes, the Lakers will want to avoid overworking James and Davis to ensure that they’re healthy for the playoffs, so players outside his projected 10-man rotation, including free agent addition Cam Reddish and rookies Jalen Hood-Schifino and Maxwell Lewis, could get a chance to earn some minutes too.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Although Buha has Russell penciled in as the starting point guard, he acknowledges that could change, observing that Vincent’s 3-and-D skill set is a better fit next to the Lakers’ stars. It’s a “coin flip” as to who will end up as the go-to point guard, Buha writes, suggesting that both players will have important roles.
  • Christie is the most difficult Laker to project for the 2023/24 season, says Buha. If he breaks out like he believes he can, he should have no problem securing a spot as the eighth or ninth man in the rotation. If not, he may end up battling Reddish for minutes as the 10th man.
  • According to Buha, the Lakers hope that Hayes will be able to start alongside Davis in scenarios when the team opts to roll with a two-big lineup. However, Buha doesn’t foresee a major regular role for Hayes, noting that there are only so many frontcourt minutes to go around as long as James, Davis, Hachimura, and Vanderbilt are healthy. If the Lakers were to sign another free agent center such as Christian Wood or Bismack Biyombo, Hayes’ spot in the regular rotation would be even less certain, though injuries and/or load management could ultimately open the door for him to play frequently.
  • In the latest Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link), ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Tim Bontemps, and Tim MacMahon discuss the fact that Davis will become extension-eligible later this week and consider the odds of he and the Lakers working out a deal before the season begins. Windhorst doesn’t necessarily expect the two sides to reach a deal immediately, but believes there’s mutual interest in working something out. “There’s no time crunch. He doesn’t have to make a decision by August 5 or anything,” Windhorst said. “But I do think there is an expectation that the Lakers do make some sort of offer this week, or at least show their intention to make such an offer.”

More Contract Details: White, Lyles, A. Holiday, Draymond, D-Lo, More

Coby White‘s new contract with the Bulls and Trey Lyles‘ new contract with the Kings both include unlikely incentives that could increase the value of those deals, Hoops Rumors has learned.

White’s three-year pact is guaranteed to be worth at least $36MM and has $1.3MM in annual incentives that could push the guard’s earnings up to $40MM in total. As for Lyles, he’ll make $8MM guaranteed salaries in each season of his two-year deal with Sacramento and could earn another $1.2MM in bonuses, which would increase the overall value of the contract to $18.4MM ($9.2MM per year).

Here are a few more details worth noting on several recently signed contracts:

  • Aaron Holiday‘s one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Rockets is only partially guaranteed. Holiday is assured of about $1.05MM and would receive his full $2.35MM salary if he remains under contract through at least January 7.
  • Draymond Green‘s four-year, $100MM contract with the Warriors includes a 15% trade kicker, while Jevon Carter‘s three-year, $19.5MM deal with the Bulls has a third-year player option.
  • Only the first season of Julian Champagnie‘s new four-year, $12MM contract with the Spurs is guaranteed. For each of the following three years, he’ll have to remain under contract beyond August 1 to guarantee his salary for that season.
  • A player who re-signs with his previous team on a one-year deal (or a two-year deal with a second-year option) has the right to veto a trade, since he’d lose his Bird (or Early Bird) rights if he’s dealt. However, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement allows a player to waive that right to veto a trade when he signs that sort of contract, and Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell became the first player to do so, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Alex Len also waived his right to veto a trade as part of his new one-year deal with the Kings, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Contract Details: Sabonis, Middleton, VanVleet, Russell, Clark

The Kings’ renegotiation and extension of Domantas Sabonis‘ contract includes $203.6MM in guaranteed money, Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype tweets. The five-year deal also includes $13MM in incentives, raising its potential value to $216.6MM.

Sacramento used $8.6MM in cap room to give Sabonis a raise on next season’s salary – from $22MM to $30.6MM — then added four more years via the extension.

We have more contract-related notes:

  • Khris Middleton has a player option in the final season of his new three-year deal with the Bucks, Scotto tweets. As previously reported, his contract includes $93MM in guaranteed money and another $9MM in bonus incentives.
  • Fred VanVleet‘s huge three-year contract with the Rockets includes a 15% trade kicker, according to Blake Murphy of Sportsnet (Twitter link). The previously reported team option for the third year is valued at $44.89MM.
  • D’Angelo Russell‘s two-year contract with the Lakers is guaranteed for $36MM, Spotrac contributor Keith Smith tweets. The second season is a player option and Russell has $700K in incentives for both seasons. Additionally, Russell has waived his implied no-trade clause.
  • Jaylen Clark‘s two-way contract with the Timberwolves is a two-year deal, Smith tweets.
  • Leonard Miller‘s four-year, $8.3MM contract with the Timberwolves is guaranteed for the first two years, Scotto tweets. The third year is 50% guaranteed, and the fourth year is a team option.

Pacific Notes: Goodwin, Reaves, D-Lo, Vincent, Lakers, K. Martin

Two new but established Suns leaders, star guard Bradley Beal and head coach Frank Vogel, are looking forward to seeing the impact that another former Wizard, Jordan Goodwin, will have on the team, writes Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic.

The 6’3″ combo guard was part of the package Phoenix acquired in its blockbuster trade for Beal. Goodwin, still just 24, carved out a significant role off the bench in Washington in 2022/23. In 62 contests last season, he averaged 6.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.7 APG and 0.9 SPG.

“I think Jordan is going to surprise a lot of people,” Beal said. “A lot may not know who he is, but he is nasty tenacious defender who loves the game, who will compete at both ends of the floor.”

“He’s a very compelling talent,” Vogel said. “As we fill out the rest of our roster, we want to make sure we’re one of the most physical, toughest teams in the NBA. And Jordan at the guard position represents that, so I’m excited to watch him work.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are looking to maximize the skill set of returning guard Austin Reaves, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who hears that the team will explore the 6’5″ swingman’s play-making abilities by running the offense through him more often next season. After being moved into a full-time starting role for the Lakers during the season, the 25-year-old averaged 18.3 PPG on .571/.486/.898 shooting splits, 6.1 APG, and 3.3 RPG.
  • Although D’Angelo Russell is the early favorite to be the Lakers‘ starting point guard next season, Buha hears from sources that new addition Gabe Vincent could win the role if he outperforms Russell during L.A.’s training camp.
  • The Lakers are looking to add a center to fill its 14th roster spot, Buha adds. Sources tell Buha that Mohamed Bamba and Tristan Thompson are both candidates for the gig, but that the club could also wait out the market and see if more intriguing possibilities emerge.
  • Newly acquired Clippers small forward Kenyon Martin Jr. could help infuse an older L.A. roster with a healthy dose of athleticism, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. Martin, a Southern California native, brings an explosive vertical burst to the table, though he won’t score much outside of the post. His main contributions will be in and around that terrain on offense, while defensively he has some tools but still needs to develop.

Lakers Sign D’Angelo Russell To Two-Year Deal

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.

Spurs, Rockets Have Most Remaining Cap Room

As we enter the first day of the NBA’s 2023/24 league year, two Southwest rivals – the Spurs and Rockets – are the teams with the most projected cap room still available, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter links) and Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link).

San Antonio and Houston were active on Friday night. The Spurs reached agreements to re-sign restricted free agents Tre Jones and Julian Champagnie, while the Rockets made one of the biggest splashes of the summer so far by agreeing to a three-year, maximum-salary contract with Fred VanVleet. However, Jones and Champagnie have cap holds below their projected salaries, while Houston entered the offseason with approximately $64MM in room, so both teams still have plenty of flexibility.

Marks projects the Spurs at $29MM in remaining space, while Smith suggests they could actually still create up to $34MM+ if needed. Either way, they still have more spending power than any team in the NBA. Both Marks and Smith have the Rockets at approximately $25MM.

The Kings, Jazz, and Pacers are among the other clubs that still project to have more than $10MM in cap room remaining, though Sacramento’s and Indiana’s figures are hard to pin down because they’ll hinge on whether the teams complete their rumored trade involving Chris Duarte. The Kings also still have a path to remain an over-the-cap team if they want to, since none of their reported moves so far absolutely require cap space.

Here are a few other things to watch as the second day – and first full day – of the free agent period gets underway:

Free Agent Rumors: G. Williams, Lakers, Gordon, Vincent, Brooks

The Celtics are letting the market dictate how they proceed with the contract of restricted free agent power forward Grant Williams.

Sources tell Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that, since Boston has the right of first refusal on Williams, the team is waiting to see if he gets an offer sheet before making a decision on his future.

The 3-and-D role player could be feeling some roster squeeze if he does return to the Celtics next season, as the club will now boast a frontcourt that features Kristaps Porzingis in addition to Al Horford and Robert Williams III.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Lakers may be open to bringing back unrestricted free agent shooting guard Malik Beasley for next season, even after deciding not to pick up their $16.5MM option on him for 2023/24. Sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports that team president Rob Pelinka still appreciates Beasley as a player and the club has some interest in re-signing him on what would have to be a significantly smaller deal. Fischer adds that the Lakers have not yet made a determination on the future of starting point guard D’Angelo Russell, though both Russell’s management and L.A. had been hopeful about reaching a new long-term deal earlier Friday.
  • Fischer adds that the Raptors were viewed as a prime suitor Gabe Vincent as it became increasingly clear that Fred VanVleet would sign a huge new contract with the Rockets. However, after Lakers mid-level target Bruce Brown joined the Pacers early on in free agency, Los Angeles weighed a pursuit of shooting guard Eric Gordon before ultimately deciding on Vincent. Sources tell Fischer that the Raptors didn’t end up reaching out to Vincent during free agency.
  • The Heat offered Vincent a four-year, $34MM contract to stay in Miami, a source tells Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (via Twitter). The 27-year-old instead opted for a shorter-term deal with a higher annual salary, accepting a three-year, $33MM offer from the Lakers.
  • The Rockets‘ anticipated meeting with small forward Dillon Brooks is taking place either late on Friday or at some point on Saturday, reports Kelly Iko of The Athletic. According to Iko, the defensive-oriented 6’7″ swingman has had conversations with the Bucks and Lakers on Friday while Houston focused on locking up VanVleet. Now that the Lakers have committed most of their mid-level exception to Vincent, they’re likely no longer a viable landing spot for Brooks, Iko notes.

Western FA Rumors: D-Lo, Lakers, H. Jones, Suns, Warriors

There are “strong” indications that the Lakers are trending toward a new two-year deal with free agent point guard D’Angelo Russell, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. According to Fischer, that two-year contract could be worth in the neighborhood of $40MM in total, though the second season may be a team option or non-guaranteed.

While the Lakers have interest in re-signing both Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker, it’s unclear which one the club is prioritizing, Fischer writes. Schröder will likely require a raise that exceeds the Non-Bird exception, so if Los Angeles uses its mid-level exception on an outside free agent, the team may have to allot its bi-annual exception to him, Fischer explains. In that scenario, it’s unclear whether the team would have enough room to re-sign Walker to a market-value deal as well while remaining below a hard cap.

Another potential path would see L.A. splits its mid-level between Schröder and a frontcourt player such as Mason Plumlee, sources tell Yahoo Sports. If Schröder doesn’t end up back with the Lakers, a reunion with Bulls coach Billy Donovan in Chicago is possible, Fischer writes. Donovan previously coached the point guard in Oklahoma City.

Finally, Fischer is one of a handful of reporters who have linked free agent forward Cam Reddish to Los Angeles. The Lakers were said to have some trade interest in Reddish – a Klutch Sports client – during each of the past two seasons. He’d be a minimum-salary target, Fischer notes.

Here are a few more free agency rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • Two forwards who had their team options declined by the Pelicans on Thursday figure to take very different paths this summer. According to Fischer, Herbert Jones will likely end up back in New Orleans on a four-year deal worth a little more than $50MM, which would presumably be his Early Bird maximum. Willy Hernangomez, on the other hand, is considered a good bet to accept a lucrative offer from a EuroLeague team rather than seeking another minimum-salary NBA deal, Fischer reports.
  • The Suns intend to bring back several of their own free agents, including Torrey Craig, Damion Lee, Jock Landale, and Josh Okogie, according to Fischer, who says agent big man Drew Eubanks is another strong candidate to end up in Phoenix. Fischer is also the latest reporter to link Yuta Watanabe and Mike James to the Suns.
  • The Lakers and Warriors are among the teams eyeing free agent guard Shake Milton, per Fischer. Free agent forward Dario Saric has also received “strong” interest from Golden State, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Eastern Notes: Hornets, Quickley, Bulls, Dobner

A report last Thursday that the Hornets were giving renewed consideration to taking Scoot Henderson with the No. 2 pick was a late attempt to get the Trail Blazers to trade up, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports said on the Basketball Illuminati Podcast.

“I don’t think this was done (with) betting markets, conspiracy, blah, blah, blah,” Fischer said (hat tip to Real GM). “I think the Hornets tried to get a little savvy.”

Fischer points out that Charlotte general manager Mitch Kupchak tried a similar tactic in 2015 when he had the No. 2 pick as GM of the Lakers. Kupchak was deciding between D’Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor and didn’t communicate to their agents what he planned to do.

“I believe the Hornets did not tell Brandon Miller or Scoot until right on the clock that they were going either direction to continue that misdirection, mystery or whatever you call,” Fischer added. “I think it was a concerted effort by the Hornets to drum up some trade interest there.”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • An NBA executive tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com that he thinks Immanuel Quickley will want “nine figures” over four years in his extension talks this summer. The Knicks guard helped his bargaining position with an outstanding third season that saw him finish second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting. “I can’t say the Knicks will go that high but they might have to,” the executive said. “He is not a guy you want to send to restricted free agency.”
  • The Bulls didn’t address their need for outside shooting in the draft, so they’re likely to look for shooters in free agency, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Chicago’s only pick was Julian Phillips, who shot 23.9% from behind the arc on 46 attempts last season at Tennessee. The Bulls ranked last in three-point attempts per game the past two years, and general manager Marc Eversley believes recently hired shooting coach Peter Patton will help. “Peter comes to us not only as a shooting coach but somebody who can oversee our player development function,” Eversley said. “… And we feel like he can help the overall look and feel of how we play the game and shoot the ball.”
  • Sidney Dobner will be the first female assistant coach in the history of the Bucks, the team stated in a press release announcing Adrian Griffin‘s staff. This will be Dobner’s sixth season with the franchise.

And-Ones: Mannion, Qualifying Offers, 2024 Draft, D-Lo, Hayward

Former Warriors guard Nico Mannion is signing with Baskonia in Spain, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets, calling it a done deal. Mannion played the last two seasons in his home country of Italy with Virtus Segafredo Bologna. He played 30 games with Golden State during the 2020/21 season after being drafted in the second round.

Because the Warriors issued a two-way qualifying offer to Mannion in 2021 and again in 2022, they still control his RFA rights in the event that he decides to return to the NBA. That would change if they decide not to extend that QO this year or in a future season.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Good news for restricted free agents in future seasons — there’s a 10% increase in qualifying offers that teams must make to those players or else they become unrestricted. However, according to Mike Vornukov of The Athletic (Twitter link), it doesn’t apply to restricted free agents this summer — instead, the stipulation in the new CBA begins with this year’s rookie class. In another tweak, offer sheets for future restricted free agents will have a new deadline. If a team that has to make a decision on whether to match an offer sheet receives it before noon ET, that team has until 11:59 p.m. ET the next day to match. If it’s received after 12 p.m. ET, that team has until 11:59 pm ET two days later.
  • Now that the 2023 draft is behind us, what might the 2024 draft look like? ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo provide an early glimpse of next year’s draft class, doing a mock draft that includes both rounds. They predict G League Ignite guards Ron Holland and Matas Buzelis will be the first players off the board.
  • With the Lakers drafting Jalen Hood-Schifino, it may decrease the possibility they will try to re-sign free agent D’Angelo Russell, Cydney Henderson of USA Today writes. Gordon Hayward‘s future with the Hornets is very much in doubt with the addition of forward and No. 2 pick Brandon Miller, Henderson also notes.