In a conversation on the HoopsHype podcast about the Lakers‘ free agency situation, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tells Michael Scotto of HoopsHype that he still believes a new deal with Los Angeles is the most likely outcome for D’Angelo Russell, though if it’s far from a lock.
A previous report stated that Russell was hoping for a four-year, $100MM contract before being traded from Minnesota to L.A. Given that he had an up-and-down postseason and there aren’t a ton of obvious suitors for his services this offseason, Russell may be hard-pressed to get four years or $25MM annually, Buha observes, suggesting that a two- or three-year deal, perhaps around $20MM per year, might be more realistic.
While the Lakers may also explore the sign-and-trade market for Russell, neither Buha nor Scotto views Kyrie Irving as a serious option for the club, even though Scotto has heard there’s no truth to the idea that Irving and the Mavericks have a “handshake” deal in place. Buha suggests it’s hard to imagine the Lakers making a compelling offer for Irving that Dallas would accept.
Elsewhere on the free agency front, Buha and Scotto agree that Lonnie Walker could get offers in the $4-7MM range and might seek a larger role with a new team.
As for Austin Reaves, Buha continues to hear that the Lakers will match any offer sheet for the guard, but he names the Spurs as a possible “dark horse” suitor for Reaves, while Scotto identifies the Rockets and Magic as two other cap-room teams who could have interest in testing the Lakers’ limits.
Here’s more on the Lakers:
- In a mailbag for The Athletic, Buha says that Shaquille Harrison is expected to be waived this offseason and adds there are doubts about whether Malik Beasley ($16.5MM team option) and Mohamed Bamba ($10.3MM) will be retained. Beasley and Bamba would be on expiring deals and might be useful salary-matching pieces in trades, but they’re not bargains on their current contracts and could be cut loose to help accommodate new deals for free agents like Reaves, Russell, and Rui Hachimura.
- The Lakers are more likely than not to hang onto the No. 17 pick in this year’s draft, sources tell Buha within that same mailbag. That might change if the team is able to use the pick as part of a trade package to land a starting-caliber player, Buha notes.
- None are likely to receive consideration as early as No. 17, but the Lakers hosted six prospects for a pre-draft workout on Friday, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link): Nadir Hifi (France), Jalen Wilson (Kansas), Morris Udeze (New Mexico), Cameron Shelton (Loyola Marymount), Terquavion Smith (NC State), and Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky).