D'Angelo Russell is playing like a guy in a contract year. And that’s just fine with Brooklyn.
Russell tied his career best with 40 points Friday night against the Magic, including hitting the shot that put the Nets up for good on the night with 27 seconds remaining. Russell was 16-of-25 shooting, including 8-of-12 from three, and he was an analytics dream — Russell took all but one of his shots either in the paint or from three.
The Nets — now 24-23 on the season and the sixth seed in the East — came from 21 back to get the win and that included their guards hitting the big shots at the end.
With the Nets extending Dinwiddie during the season, it’s unlikely Russell returns to Brooklyn next season, but a number of teams are interested in him as a free agent (restricted, the Nets can match if the offer is low).
PBT Extra: Five players to watch heading into the NBA’s trade deadline
The reason it will be relatively quiet on Feb. 7 (the deadline day) this year is reflected in the five players to watch talked about in this PBT Extra. The bottom line: There are far more buyers than sellers.
Take Trevor Ariza in Washington, for example. A number of playoff teams are looking for wings on expiring contracts to help them out — the Rockets and Lakers are at the front of that line — but Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has said the team the team will not tank, so is Ariza even available.
Or, what about Terrence Ross in Orlando? Another wing a lot of teams have interest in, but is Orlando selling?
And while the Dallas Mavericks have made public overtures about reconciliation with Dennis Smith Jr., sources tell me the plan on both sides is still to find a trade, it’s just right now the offers are lowball ones (because the Mavs have no leverage and there will be good young point guards such as Terry Rozier and D'Angelo Russell available in July as restricted free agents, and teams like them better).
Still, there will be trades. These are the guys to watch.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens calls timeout 29 seconds into game (video)
Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen got the ball back on a pick-and-roll Monday night and he had a clear flight path to the rim for a monster dunk…er… it takes a lot of skill to pass a ball off the rim out to the three-point line, where D'Angelo Russell was wide open.