Ranking Lakers free agents by likelihood to return next season

The Los Angeles Lakers have 10 players entering free agency in 2024. Who is most likely to be re-signed and who might be on their way out this summer?
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament
Los Angeles Lakers v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament / Jonathan Bachman/GettyImages
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5. D'Angelo Russell, Player Option

Outside of LeBron James, no Los Angeles Lakers free agent will see their decision face quite as much scrutiny as D'Angelo Russell. One of the most productive point guards in the NBA, Russell is a polarizing figure whose regular season statistics and postseason quality of play have not yet aligned.

Ever-present in trade rumors, Russell now has a player option that will allow him to take his future into his own hands—and there's a very good chance that such power will result in him leaving the Lakers.

Russell responded to the trade rumors in 2024 with one of the best regular seasons of his career. He averaged 18.0 points and 6.3 assists while shooting efficiently, piecing together a slash line of .456/.415/.828 and an eFG% of .560—1.3 percent higher than the league average.

On that basis, it would be hard to blame the Lakers for wanting to bring the former All-Star back to Los Angeles for 2024-25 and beyond.

The postseason proved challenging for Russell yet again, however, as he averaged 3.8 fewer points and 2.1 fewer assists while shooting just .384/.318/.500. Efficiency tends to decline in the playoffs, but Russell struggled mightily, even going scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting in Game 3.

Russell bounced back to help the Lakers win Game 4, but in many eyes, the damage has been done—and his $18,692,307 salary would likely be utilized in a potential trade if he were to accept his player option.