The Brooklyn Nets have far supassed the expectations placed on them by the NBA community.
While they have done well with changing a culture of losing, much of their turnaround can be attributed to first-time All-Star D’Angelo Russell, who has become the new face of the organization. The 23-year-old point guard averaged 21 and 7 on 43% shooting for the season.
In response to his elevated level of play, however, the Nets will have to open their checkbooks to keep him in town.
As he prepares to hit unrestricted free agency this July, his All-Star label will come with a high price tag.
“The young guard has bought in, worked on his body and his defense, and become an All-Star, the first one the Nets have developed since Brook Lopez in 2012-13. But he’s got a $21.1 million cap hold, and could get a max offer from a point guard-hungry team. That would be $27 million, which league sources have intimated is what Russell wants. The Nets haven’t shown themselves to being convinced he’s worth that much, and could well let the market decide.”
From Lewis’ report, the Nets are not fully sold on offering Russell a full max deal this summer. Their hesitation is understandable. His leadership remains in question after his debacle in Los Angeles, and there is a clear distinction between an All-Star caliber player and a superstar level player.
Russell has proved he is capable of playing at a star level, but do the Nets really want to dish out $27 million to a guy that has yet to cement his status as a true superstar? That is — to a guy we are not sure can be the primary option of a Championship team.
We will have to wait and see what kind of market Russell will face this summer.