Jazz, Wolves, Pacers, Magic expected to make run at D’Angelo Russell

AP
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D'Angelo Russell‘s stock went up this season with the Brooklyn Nets. Although they didn’t find their way out of the first round in the Eastern Conference playoffs this season, the Nets were a great watch and they’ll hold great interest in seasons to come.

That is, if they can hold on to their stars.

Russell is one of the players up for a new contract this summer, and he will have many suitors. There is some doubt around the NBA that Russell will be able to keep up the kind of mid-range shooting numbers that he had in 2018-19, but that reportedly won’t slow down potential offers.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, at least four teams are interested in making Russell’s services a priority.

Via The Athletic:

A market is forming for Nets All-Star and restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell: Utah, Orlando, Minnesota and Indiana are among the teams expected to show an interest aside from Brooklyn, sources said.

Some of these make some sense. The Utah Jazz have reportedly told Ricky Rubio that he won’t be a priority this offseason. Although they are a good defensive squad, it was obvious that Utah needed somebody, anybody, to score and create baskets for them this year.

The Orlando Magic can use any help they can get, and their guard rotation will wear thin this season and next, particularly if Markelle Fultz can’t figure things out.

The Minnesota Timberwolves need to add burgeoning young talent around their core, lest in fall apart the way they have countless times in the past. I’m less enthused about that fit, however, simply because they were a poor defensive team last season and Russell isn’t going to lead the charge there.

Indiana is the most interesting option here. Yes, the Pacers need some guard help, but pairing Russell with Victor Oladipo might not leave enough air in the ball after the two have gotten through dribbling it. Indiana has misfired on some traditional, low-rent point guards over the past couple of seasons, but perhaps Rubio might be a better option for them? The Pacers still need shooting and Russell did get his average up to 37 percent from 3-point range this year.

These are some solid options for Russell, who can also simply go back to Brooklyn and try to build upon the success of their sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The real question is how much to offer him, and whether he will be a near-max player as some have wondered.