Darren Wolfson: While D'Angelo Russell is clear-cut Pla…

Darren Wolfson: While D’Angelo Russell is clear-cut Plan A for the #Twolves at PG, Plan B was said to be Ricky Rubio. Wolves were preparing one heck of a recruiting video for him, for one. But they were led to believe early in the process that he was off to somewhere else. Sounds like Indiana.

More on D'Angelo Russell Free Agency

Jared Weiss: Was told half an hour ago the timing of Rozier’s QO being rescinded was still TBD. Phoenix is looking to strike a deal with Rozier per source, but plan to exhaust options to get D’Angelo Russell before moving forward. DLo will meet w/ Wolves and Lakers.
The Nets could renounce Russell and allow him to become an unrestricted free agent, but first could work with his agents at CAA -- Austin Brown and Aaron Mintz -- on sign-and-trade scenarios with teams without the requisite salary cap space to sign Russell, sources said. One team interested in finding a way to acquire Russell either via free agency or sign-and-trade: The Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Nets are focused on adding a point guard-power forward combination. Although early reports said they would consider pairing Irving and restricted free agent All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, an NBA source told Newsday that is unlikely. Marks plans on landing two top-tier stars, and the gaping hole at power forward is a prime concern.
Tania Ganguli: Can confirm ESPN report that the Lakers have reached out to D'Angelo Russell's representatives about a meeting. Russell, whom the Lakers drafted 2nd overall in 2015 then traded away in 2017, was an All Star last season.
Towns and Russell were taken Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the 2015 NBA draft and have been close friends since high school. Towns is really high on adding Russell, sources said. It would take moving Andrew Wiggins or a combination of Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng to open the space needed for Minnesota to sign Russell. The Nets would have two days to match a signed offer sheet to retain Russell.
Wolfson added the discussion "never got even an inch off the ground" in terms of working toward an actual agreement.
Fred Roggin: According to sources.. #Lakers set meeting with D’Angelo Russell. Club working towards setting meetings with defensive specialist and a lights out shooter also has interest. To be continued....
During Tuesday’s “Woj and Lowe Free Agency Special” on ESPN, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said the Lakers are targeting the 23-year-old All-Star in free agency — so much so that they’re reportedly hoping another target of theirs, Kyrie Irving, signs with Russell’s current team, forcing him into unrestricted free agency: “It is a legitimate scenario, Zach. The Lakers now, at this point, are rooting for Kyrie Irving to go to Brooklyn because then Brooklyn renounces D’Angelo Russell, who’s a restricted free agent. He becomes unrestricted and then the Lakers could sign Russell as their third star in L.A. and they get back a much more mature, polished player who’s been an All-Star, who’s put a team into the postseason.”

If not? That’s when Johnson says the Lakers should look Russell’s way — “after the super-superstar” options are off the board. “Now he’s ready,” Johnson said. “He’s much more mature. I said the only thing, he was immature back then. He could always score, but the guys would never play with him because of what he did (with the Young video). But now all those guys are gone and he’s on another level now.”
There is at least a kernel of truth to the Lakers' interest in a reunion, sources say, but L.A. has a lot to sort out. Russell fits the Knicks' timeline in case they strike out on bigger fish, but all indications are that New York will pursue short-term deals in that scenario, sources say.
A majority of the executives -- about 75 percent -- said that on talent alone Irving was still worth $8 million to $10 million more than Russell. But about half of those said if the salary gap widened to that level, concerns about chemistry would have them leaning toward sticking with Russell in scenarios that do not include Durant.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe poured gasoline all over the fire, saying the Wolves were "up to something" on his most recent podcast with Bobby Marks and Jonathan Givony. Lowe said they've have let the league know they have path to landing Russell as the franchise point guard of the future they desperately want. The social media recruiting by Towns isn't simply some harmless fun with a close friend, either. "There has been a lot of Minnesota (signing) D'Angelo Russell noise," said Lowe.
Do you have a prediction on what’s going to happen with you, D’Angelo Russell and the rest of the guys? DeMarre Carroll: No prediction, but we’ll see. My agent, Mark Bartelstein, he’ll make sure he gets me in the right position and the right place. If it’s in Brooklyn or if it’s not, he’s going to make sure that I’m taken care of and I’m successful. Hopefully for DLo – if it’s not here if it’s somewhere else – I think he earned himself a max deal. He earned himself a max deal to take care of his family for the rest of their life. He’s just got to enjoy the moment and enjoy whether it’s here or somewhere else.
Michael Scotto: D’Angelo Russell held a camp in NJ this weekend. No FA talk, but some notes: Russell on Brooklyn: It’s fun. This is a city that loves 🏀. Reporter: Can you see yourself doing this camp every year? DLo: For sure. Karl Towns Sr. talked to him. One camper: “Stay with Brooklyn.” pic.twitter.com/ifBjWGmPpj
Zach Lowe: "When the dust all settles, the Suns with Kelly Oubre’s cap hold — and Kelly Oubre is a decent young player, the Suns should want to keep Kelly Oubre — have I think $14-15 million in room. Not enough for D’Angelo Russell, who they have openly coveted. Not enough for Malcolm Brogdon. Maybe enough for Patrick Beverley, but not enough for a max free agent. What in the hell just happened? What are they doing? What happened?"
Russell's breakup with the Lakers wasn't pretty, but it's difficult to hold grudges in this league. With Johnson gone, some close to Russell have indicated he may be open to the idea if Brooklyn isn't in the picture.
You’ve been vocal about the Timberwolves having a chance to make major improvements via free agency. You’ve done some D’Angelo Russell whispering on Instagram. Have you paid attention to all the player movement and rumors this summer? Karl-Anthony Towns: Yes. I pay very close attention to free agency. And D’Angelo is not getting whispers, he’s getting more of a yell from a microphone. This is a big free agency period for us as an organization, so we’re taking every step and exploring every avenue. How long have you known Russell? Karl-Anthony Towns: Forever. Me and D’Angelo have known each other for a very long time. We’ve talked about how much we want to play with each other, not even just in the NBA or college, but in high school. Who would’ve thought we’re at this moment now.
John Gambadoro: I don't think I have been asked about any single player more than D'Angelo Russell who will likely get his rights renounced if the Nets get Kyrie Irving. Once again as we have been saying for a month now - D'Angelo Russell is NOT an option for the Suns.
The Jazz would have interest in Russell, but only if the Nets renounce his cap hold, making him an unrestricted free agent. As a player, the Jazz like Russell. He’s a dynamic presence in pick and roll and the Jazz have one of the best PNR bigs in the league in Rudy Gobert.
Multiple Nets players and members of the staff tell NetsDaily they believe they’ll be playing with Irving this upcoming season … and not D’Angelo Russell. There’s belief within the organization that Kyrie is nearly a “done deal” and if that’s the case, Russell is unlikely to return.
Meanwhile, in addition to some of the hoped-for "yesses'' [as Dallas Mavericks free-agent targets] we've reported on, we bring you the "no's'' on Jimmy Butler and D'Angelo Russell. The Mavs' position on these two standouts is worth arguing about, which we do on DBcom Boards. But the positions are, to me, also fairly clear.

If Irving ends up signing in Brooklyn, it may have an interesting ripple effect on the roster, particularly D'Angelo Russell. Russell, a restricted free agent, will likely draw significant interest on the open market. The 23-year-old is coming off of an All-Star season in which he helped lead Brooklyn to the playoffs. Members of the Pacers organization are high on Russell, SNY sources confirm.
But thanks to general manager Sean Marks paying a heavy price to clear Crabbe’s contract — one of his few mistakes since taking the job — the Nets have $68 million to spend if they renounce point guard D’Angelo Russell, and $48 million even including his cap hold. Sources have said the Nets would consider pairing Russell with Irving, and Kevin Boyle — who coached both in high school — insists they’re friends and would thrive together. Russell liked and commented on an Instagram post showing his jersey next to an Irving Nets jersey.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of system fits,” said Rosas when asked what types of players the franchise needs to add. “I think there’s a lot of diversity in terms of the wing position. There are some questions that we have to answer at the point guard position. At the bigs position, there’s a good strength, there’s good depth there. But a lot of it is going to be what the market bears in terms of trades, what the market bears in terms of free agency.” Russell plays a position that the 2019-20 Timberwolves need to address. Because of that, it makes sense to pursue the possibility of his acquisition, even if the odds are stacked against Rosas in terms of feasibility. The improbable is worth pursuing. That is the job of a diligent front office.
Russell, 23, admits he has no idea what to expect from his first free agency — but he has seen enough to know the NBA is a business. And unless he and the Nets reach an extension before June 30, he’ll have to be patient as the superstars set — and shape — the market.
“It’s more of just the waiting game as far as chess moves have to be made,” Russell told The Post via phone while on vacation in Spain. “There’s a lot of big fish out there that have to find their destinations so I think I’ll [fall in line after that]. There are a lot of fish out there that need to find destinations. So whenever that time comes then I have decisions to make on my own, I think I’ll be well ready for it.”
Sources told The Post that even if the Nets don’t get Durant, they would still sign Irving and willingly pair him with Russell. But how willing is Russell? “If we’re being completely honest, I enjoyed the team that we had this whole season,” Russell told The Post. “If the situation was to come up to have pieces of his caliber around, it’ll make us a better team obviously. But I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy our team, and the pieces we had around.”
SNY also learned recently that the Nets would not shy away from signing Irving even if they re-sign point guard D'Angelo Russell. The ideal scenario would be to pair two max free agents, such as Kevin Durant and Irving, but sources say the Nets would be open to pairing Irving and Russell in the backcourt together.
Russell, 23, will become a restricted free agent this upcoming summer. However, reports indicate the Nets would like to strike a deal before he hits the market. Russell became an All-Star and is currently a candidate for the Most Improved Player award after averaging a career-high 21 points and seven assists per game. The Nets think very highly of Russell. Between his development on and off the court and his desire to be great, the Nets would like him to be a part of their future going forward. "Without D'Angelo, the Nets don't make the jump they made," one league source said.
Russell got cited by police for marijuana possession Wednesday night, trying to fly from La Guardia to Louisville International Airport. But league sources told The Post it won’t affect his value as a free agent, while ESPN reported the Nets are trying to hammer out a deal with their All-Star before he hits the market on July 1. “It’s not an issue,” one league source told The Post. “I’ve had a cell phone ticket that was more [costly].”
Looking ahead, he and Russell will have to decide if the point guard will remain a core piece of the Nets long-term. “He’s obviously one of our more talented players,” Marks said. “You (reporter) said that we’ll have decisions. D’Angelo is going to have decisions, too. That is a little bit of the nature of this business. But at the end of the day, our job is to continue to put talent on the floor for Brooklyn.”
So much so that Russell, who is entering free agency for the first time, acknowledges that he’s looking forward to at least tasting the open market at age 23, with a well-delivered “hell yeah,” when asked about his excitement. And Brooklyn will be in the lead come first of July. “I don’t know any other teams,” offered Russell, the former Los Angeles Laker. “I don’t know any other GMs or coaches. I don’t know any of those people. I know where I’m at. So it definitely gives you that advantage.”
And here’s what Sean Marks had to say about talking to the franchise’s only All-Star in the last five years as July 1 approaches. “I think the conversations that have taken place are over the entire time that he’s been here. And those conversations are between he and Kenny (Atkinson), they’re between myself and D’Angelo, they’re between the doctors and the performance team, the staff. And it’s really about a holistic view about how we care for our guys,” Marks told a dozen or so reporters. “And I would think I could put D’Angelo and the rest of our guys, lump them all together; l think they know how we appreciate them, how we care for them, how we want to develop them. And that’s part of the restricted free agent pitch, if you will, for him.
“It looks like he’s arrived and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere,” Boyle said of Russell. “He’s going to be an All-Star for a long time. The confidence that he has in himself and the way that he’s playing, and you can feel the team also feels that way about him the way they’re interacting it seems like they have great trust in his ability and they all bought in that he’s a really good distributor, excellent player, and I think he and the team like each other.”
Later this summer, the tables will turn for Brooklyn’s front office as Russell enters restricted free agency once the Nets extend a one-year, $9.16 million qualifying offer to him, as expected. He will count as a $21 million cap hold until he either signs the qualifying offer, signs an offer sheet with another team or negotiates a new long-term deal with the Nets. “I think D’Angelo is worth around $20 million (annually),” one long-time Eastern Conference executive said. “Is this payback time for the Nets? Will teams offer him the way they (Nets) did for Crabbe, Porter, and Johnson? I think he turned the corner. I think he has a chip on his shoulder.” “He’s going to be in high demand and will get close to max with his overall improvement,” a Western Conference executive said.
Barring the Nets agreeing to deals with two maximum-salary free agents, Russell will be a restricted free agent and his market will be dictated by interest from other teams. Brooklyn has the right of first refusal to match any offer sheet Russell signs with another team. Teams such as the Indiana Pacers, Phoenix Suns, and Orlando Magic are teams who could use a point guard this summer.
With each game this season, Russell’s free agent stock has improved. Russell, who turns 23 on Feb. 23, is eligible for restricted free agency this summer if the Nets extend a $9.16 million qualifying offer to him, as expected. He will count as a $21 million cap hold until he either signs the one-year, $9.16 million qualifying offer, signs an offer sheet with another team or negotiates a new long-term deal with the Nets. “I understand that it’s a business and I would love to be here, but I’m not going to say anything more than that because I don’t know what the situation may be,” Russell said.
The second is a function of the market as it stands. According to league sources, while there are certainly teams interested in Smith, there is some reluctance to make a commitment to him because there could be other more traditional young point guards on the market this summer. There will be the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker in free agency, of course. But for rebuilding teams in need of a point guard — Orlando and Phoenix have been mentioned as possible Smith suitors — the preference is to take aim at young restricted free agents like Terry Rozier or D’Angelo Russell this summer rather than gamble on whether Smith can develop into a point guard. "He is very athletic, but he’s not a playmaker and not a great shooter," one front office executive told SN. "If you have money under the cap this offseason (the Suns and Magic will), there are other guys you can pursue who fit better, who can pass and score."
With Dinwiddie off the free-agency board, Rozier and Russell benefit the most. However, as restricted free agency has taught us in recent years, Boston and Brooklyn have all the leverage until an offer sheet is presented. League execs identified the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns as potential suitors for both players.
The Spencer Dinwiddie $1.6M free agent hold is now replaced by a $10.6M salary in 2019-20. The Nets are still projected to have cap flexibility in July but how much will be based on the future of restricted free agents D'Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Russell had said this week he would use being in a contract year as motivation, use watching others land extensions to fuel his own drive for one next summer. “That’s the goal. You see someone getting those extension numbers and getting those, that contract extension, that motivates everybody,” Russell said.
Russell said playing for a new contract “always” motivates him. He’s definitely positioned to cash in with a strong year. One of the big external threats who could override even major progress from Russell – Kyrie Irving – effectively took himself off the market.
Bobby Marks: With the Dwight Howard trade, only Allen Crabbe will have a guaranteed contract for the Nets in 2019-20. The Nets could potentially have up to $60M+ in room next summer but will be contingent on the restricted free agency of D'Angelo Russell and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Storyline: D'Angelo Russell Free Agency
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May 21, 2022 | 6:32 am EDT Update

Darvin Ham the coach LeBron James wants?

The Lakers may be willing to take that leap of faith because Ham spent two years with the organization. His personality isn’t easily forgotten. Ham brings a lot of energy to a gym. He’s arguably the best fit for the locker room, with veterans like LeBron James, Anthony Davis and possibly Russell Westbrook in need of a coach they can relate to and respect. “He’s the guy LeBron wants,” a competing source said. It will be up to Ham to spell out his basketball vision, in general and in context to the Lakers’ roster makeup. He could be the hire if he can sell that side to the team’s front office.
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He also has a reputation for being a bit headstrong or rigid in personality. He’s going to demand respect, but he’s going to need to clarify precisely why he and the Nets divorced in-season. Is he the right coach for star players with strong personalities like James? Atkinson may have the most outside-the-box style of the three finalists. Per a competing source, he’s similar to Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, willing to experiment with unconventional strategies to win by whatever means necessary.

Warriors overcome 19-point deficit, take Game 2 vs. Mavs

The Warriors came back from a 19-point deficit to beat the Dallas Mavericks 126-117 in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. The Warriors now have a 2-0 advantage in the series. The first two quarters of the game were owned by the Mavericks. They hit 15 3-pointers in the first half, setting a new franchise record for 3s made in a playoff half. Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson became the second pair of starting guards to each score 20 points in the first half of a playoff game in the past 25 seasons. “I told them that if we developed some poise in the second half, the game would come to us,” Kerr said. “But I thought we were so scattered in the first half. Maybe emotionally more so than anything. Dallas came out and just punched us. We felt confident that if we [got poised], they wouldn’t make 15 3s in the second half.”
On defense, Looney held the Mavericks to 1-of-11 shooting from the field as the primary defender, including holding Doncic to 0-of-3. He also grabbed 12 rebounds. Looney is accustomed to being switched onto guards like Doncic. During the Warriors’ dynastic runs, he was switched onto James Harden when Golden State faced Houston multiple times during the postseason. “I take kind of the same approach,” Looney said. “I’m just a little bit more battle-tested. That was my first time playing on a big stage like this. I don’t know if even my teammates had the most faith in me, but they put me out there and I handled it pretty well.