2. A new contract for D’Angelo Russell
D’Angelo Russell was the big contract that the Lakers got in return in the Russell Westbrook trade. There had to be one that LA got in return and all things considered, even with his flaws, Russell was perhaps the best large salary to take on.
Russell is on an expiring deal that gives the Lakers more flexibility this offseason to evaluate the situation. This is far better than if Russell was already locked into a deal that paid him for three more years as it could have created a similar problem as Westbrook’s previous contract.
That being said, the Lakers should already be trying to work out a deal that keeps Russell in LA past this season. The team has his Bird Rights so they can go over the cap to re-sign him and keeping that contract in LA would be key.
Russell should not get a max contract and should probably get a deal similar to the one Jalen Brunson got from the Knicks last offseason. This is far better for the Lakers than just losing his deal for free.
The team would be getting another chance at running it back with this core and would also have the ability to move the contract in the future in a trade if need be.