A lot of the talk surrounding impending restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell has included his former Los Angeles Lakers team.
Los Angeles appears interested in teaming Russell up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. A visit is also slated for shortly after the start of free agency.
Though, another team has long been interested in Russell. That’s a Phoenix Suns squad in desperate need of a point guard next to Devin Booker.
According to this note from Jordan Brenner of The Athletic, at least one unnamed NBA executive believes that Russell will ultimately land with the Suns in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets.
“One team executive thinks he will end up going to Phoenix in a sign-and-trade, since the Suns aren’t far enough under the cap to offer him a max deal. ‘That’s the team that really wants him,’” the report read.
There are some complex issues here. Brooklyn is not going to take on contracts in a sign-and-trade. The team is nearing enough cap space for two max-contract players and is already likely to land Kyrie Irving in free agency.
A third team would have to get involved to take on Phoenix’ excess of contracts, including Josh Jackson and potentially even Tyler Johnson’s bloated deal. That would require the Suns to send draft pick capital in return.
For the Suns, a move for a point guard of the future makes a ton of sense. Phoenix passed up on the possibility of adding a point guard at No. 6 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. Instead, the team traded down with Minnesota.
It ended up nabbing North Carolina wing Cameron Johnson and Wolves veteran Dario Saric, also a wing, in the trade.
New Suns general manager James Jones has drawn harsh criticism since the draft. But if he is able to land an All-Star of Russell’s ilk next to Booker, all will be forgiven.