4 Lakers who are playing for their next contract after the deadline

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D'Angelo Russell

D'Angelo Russell signed a two-year deal with a player option for the 2024-25 season so he does have something to fall back on if it does not go as planned. If the wheels fall off for Russell down the stretch or he gets hurt then he will have the ability to opt into his $18.6 million contract for next season.

However, the way things are trending it does not seem like Russell is going to opt into the one-year payday. Russell has played better basketball as of late and if that continues then he may convince himself that he will get a better deal in free agency. After all, a one-year deal for $18.6 million is not a hard bar to cross.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out not just for the rest of the season but in the summer as well. As good as it has looked at times for Russell, he still had no real trade value at the deadline. That seemingly indicates that he would not demand a huge payday in free agency, either.

But then again, there are always desperate teams who make desperate moves just needing to spend cap space. With several bad teams with cap space this offseason, a team might sell itself on the idea of buying into Russell's upside.

All that being said, the Lakers would probably prefer if Russell opts out and tests his market. It is obvious that the Lakers do not want to pay Russell next season considering he was shopped all season. But then again, his expiring contract could be a useful one to throw into a bigger deal over the summer.

There are pros and cons of both routes. Regardless of what happens, Russell is just going to look to maximize his pay next season and beyond.