The Lakers season has barely come to an end, but already people are trying to decipher who will be back and who won’t. One name that isn’t likely to return to Hollywood is D’Angelo Russell, who had an ugly series in the Western Conference Finals.
That being said, some Nets fans have already started to wonder if Russell would be worth taking a flier on in a return to the Nets next season. The point guard played two seasons in Brooklyn before he was dealt to the Golden State Warriors in 2019 as part of the sign and trade that brought Kevin Durant to the Nets.
The obvious knock at bringing Russell back will be his performance against the Denver Nuggets. The numbers were ugly for Russell, who averaged 6.3 points per game and shot 32.3% from the field in the four games.
Even worse, he had a 13.3 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. The Lakers already had some tough choices to make going into the offseason and Russell’s performance in the conference final likely helped make at least one easier.
The performance was so bad that The Athletic wrote on Monday that Russell’s “value has never been lower than it is right now.”
But all of that could work well for the Nets if they choose to kick the tires. Russell may not have played well during that particular series, but he had some solid efforts averaging 15.7 points prior to the Western Conference Finals which included a 31-point effort in Game 6 against the Memphis Grizzlies.
His 44.5% from the field and 34.7% shooting from 3-point range in the prior series are nothing to scoff at either. Russell’s regular season stats were solid as well, especially after the trade to LA when he shot nearly 50% from the field.
If Russell’s value is as low as it seems to be at the moment it could be a chance for the Nets to swoop in and sign him to a one-year “prove it” contract that benefits both sides. The one thing that is unknown is if there would be an appetite for a reunion from Russell.
Russell was part of a Nets squad that helped turn the franchise’s fortunes and the point guard played a big role in that during his two seasons in Kings County. However, an old comment he made during his return to Brooklyn resurfaced on Tuesday that hinted at some displeasure with the team’s decision to trade him.
Russell had been asked if there was any extra motivation against the Nets prior to a game on Dec. 3, 2021. “Maybe if Sean Marks was in a jersey, then there’d be something different. But he’s not,” Russell replied.
I asked D’Angelo Russell at shootaround if there was any added emotion playing his former #Nets team. “Maybe if Sean Marks was in a jersey, then there'd be something different. But he’s not.” #NBA
— Brian Lewis (@NYPost_Lewis) December 4, 2021