D’Angelo Russell could have a very different summer if he had joined another Californian team. The All-Star point guard was part of the Brooklyn Nets until last season. When the Nets signed Kevin Durant from the Golden State Warriors, they no longer had the money to keep Russell, who officially hit the open market.
Still, he became a restricted free agent, which meant Brooklyn could match any offer Russell received from another team. Once again, the Nets didn’t have the money to keep the player after the arrivals of Durant and Kyrie Irving.
In the end, D’Lo picked the Warriors as their new team, but they weren’t the only franchise offering him big money to get his services. According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, both the Wolves and Lakers were ready to offer Russell $100 million-plus. The Lakers’ potential offer, however, was attached to other factors.
Russell only wanted serious bidders and, sources say, he had three: The Lakers — wouldn’t that have been quite the reunion? — nearing a potential $100 million offer but in limbo until Kawhi Leonard made his choice, the Wolves, up over $100 million but still needing to create cap room to get to his max, and the Warriors, offering the full max in a complicated sign-and-trade involving Durant.
Let’s recall that Kawhi took his time to announce his new team, which ended up being the Los Angeles Clippers. The Lakers couldn’t spend money until he made his decision unless they wanted to be out of the competition. Besides, considering how things ended between both parties during Russell’s stint at the Staples Center, perhaps that drama was unnecessary for the Purple and Gold.
Ultimately, the Warriors offered more money, a full max worth $117 million, and Russell jumped at the chance to get paid a ton of money to play for one of the best organizations in basketball. When that happened, Golden State was still considered a serious candidate to win the championship, despite Durant’s departure.
So far that hasn’t been the case and D’Lo is often linked with a trade. If that’s the case, Minnesota could come in as the potential trade partner.