D’Angelo Russell has been one of the most surprising players of the season. He’s finally stepped up and proved that he’s got what it takes to be a legit threat in the league and lead a team to the playoffs.
The guard earned the first of many All-Star berths to come in his career, and he’s about to get paid big time in the summer for sure, as he’s still just 22 years old and has a bright future ahead of him.
So far, he’s averaged 20.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.7 three-pointers on 43/36/82 shooting split.
But, where could he thrive the most? Where could he take a step forward on his career? Let’s take a look at the top 5 best destinations for him to sign a long term deal when he hits free agency.
5. Los Angeles Clippers
What better way of getting back at Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers than joining their city rivals? Russell won’t have much competition at the shooting guard spot, while Shail Gilgeous-Alexander would help him hide his flaws on defense.
Nonetheless, he’d have to take a pay cut to join the Clippers, considering he should only sign here if they land another top-tier free agent in the summer like Kawhi Leonard or even Kevin Durant.
4. Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic has been going through a never-ending rebuilding process for years, but it looks like the biggest issue they can’t seem to address is the lack of a true starting playmaker at the 1-2 spot.
Russell can lead this team in scoring on a nightly basis and put them back in the map as a legit threat in the playoffs, even though they won’t be in a position to compete right away even despite his arrival.
3. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns are bound to have yet another top-5 Draft pick and they’re not short on talent by all means, but they lack a starting point guard and won’t be heading in the right direction until they land one.
Assuming they don’t draft Ja Morant, they could make a run at Russell in the summer. A Russell-Booker backcourt would be a treat to the eyes, even though the defense would be a major concern.
2. Brooklyn Nets
Of course, he can just stay put and become a Brooklyn Nets legend. He’s thrived with the Nets, he’s become their leader, and their young core looks quite good for the foreseeable future with him on top of it.
Also, they’ll have a lot of money to keep him or try and make a run at a top-tier free agent. Also, New York City’s always an enticing destination for young stars like him. Hopefully, they’ll make him a big offer.
1. Indiana Pacers
And finally, the Indiana Pacers are actually the best destination for him. Why? Well, for starters, both of their point guards (Corey Joseph and Darren Collison) are set to be unrestricted free agents in the summer.
Moreover, they have the money to try and make a run at him, and also have the young talents to build a winning team in the Eastern Conference. There, he’d have a shot at big money, and most importantly, a Championship.