Brooklyn’s D'Angelo Russell is a free agent point guard coming off an All-Star season. He averaged 21.1 points and seven assists per game, showing off improved shooting (36.9 percent from three, plus hitting floaters and jumpers opened up the rest of this game), and he helped lead the Nets to the playoffs.
Usually, that would make him highly sought after and one of the big fish in the pond.
Not this year. Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler combine to create a ridiculous tier at the top of free agency. For a lot of teams, including Brooklyn, what those big guns decide will impact the decisions on the next tier down.
Russell gets that, he told Brian Lewis of the New York Post.
“It’s more of just the waiting game as far as chess moves have to be made,” Russell told The Post via phone while on vacation in Spain. “There’s a lot of big fish out there that have to find their destinations so I think I’ll [fall in line after that].
“There are a lot of fish out there that need to find destinations. So whenever that time comes then I have decisions to make on my own, I think I’ll be well ready for it.”
The Nets, who have the rights to match any offer for Russell, are one of the teams big game hunting this summer. Brooklyn has been linked to Kyrie Irving, with the idea of pairing him with Russell. Plus, the Nets already reached a deal to keep backup point guard Spencer Dinwiddie on the roster.
The question for Russell is, of course, money.
Russell is eligible for a $27 million max salary, and the Nets are reportedly hesitant to pay that much. They would love to get him for closer to $20 million a season. However, if a team with cap space and in need of a point guard comes in hot with a max offer for Russell, the Nets will have to decide whether to match or not.
But that likely doesn’t happen until the big fish are off the board.