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D’Angelo Russell reportedly wants to stay with Lakers, feeling mutual

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 15: D’Angelo Russell #1 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates scoring a three-point basket against the New Orleans Pelicans during the second half at Crypto.com Arena on February 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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D’Angelo Russell’s second go around with the Lakers is going a lot better than the first — 19.2 points and 6.2 assists a game, with a very efficient 66.2 true shooting percentage. His shot creation at the point, paired with the additions of Jared Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley, have the Lakers looking like a dangerous playoff team if they could just get everyone healthy at once.

Russell is happy and wants to stay with the Lakers, something that Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN talked about Monday on NBA Countdown (hat tip Real GM).

“D’Angelo Russell very much wanted a second chance in L.A. with the Lakers and you’ve seen the impact he made coming back against Toronto the other night, playing great in a win, and again tonight. He wants to be the point guard of the future for this organization. He’ll be a free agent this summer.”

There has been mutual interest from the Lakers. The question, as always, is money. Russell is making $31.2 million this season in the final year of the four-year, $117 million contract he signed in Minnesota. The sides could work out a contract extension off that number, but what do the sides see as a fair number? Miami’s Tyler Herro signed a four-year, $120 million contract last summer and Russell likely will be in that ballpark or worth a little more — very similar numbers to the money he is making this season.

The Lakers have a lot of roster decisions to make this offseason beyond Russell: Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura are both restricted free agents who will command eight figures per year, Dennis Schroder and Lonnie Walker IV are unrestricted free agents, and should the Lakers bring back Mo Bamba at $10 million or let him walk? With LeBron James and Anthony Davis eating up $87.5 million of the cap between just them, there may be limits on how much the Lakers can and will spend to get the entire band back together. And that’s not even getting into the rumors about other players wanting to come to Los Angeles (such as Kyrie Irving, although making that work financially is very difficult).

Russell has proven a good fit in his return to Los Angeles. The question is will he get to stay this time around?