Russell, who was a finalist for the 2019 Most Improved Player Award, will likely find himself with a unique situation – still a young player who could land himself onto a championship contender and play a major role at the same time.
Teams will also find someone in Russell, who doesn’t turn 24 until February and is coming off a season in which he stayed healthy and averaged 21.1 points per game -- he's still in his prime.
However, Russell is a restricted free agent and will have the ability to match any offer sheet.
Here are five teams that could sign Russell once free agency begins on June 30.
The Nets are in a weird position – go after Irving or re-sign Russell. It’s clear that Russell took a huge step forward during the 2018-19 season and made himself a star in Brooklyn. Russell has also expressed his love for the city, which would make things even harder on the Nets to let him walk. According to Nets Daily, the belief is the Nets will sign Irving and let Russell go.
Los Angeles Lakers
Russell and the Lakers parted ways on the ugliest of terms. But with the recent turnover in the front office, it makes a reunion between the two teams plausible. Russell would be the cheaper option compared to Irving or Kemba Walker and since he already had spent time with the Lakers it almost makes sense for the Lakers to go after him. However, ESPN reported the team still has “a lot to sort out.”
The latest rumors surrounding the Timberwolves and Russell appear to show that Minnesota is going to really pursue the point guard this summer. ESPN’s Zach Lowe suggested the Timberwolves are ready to land Russell as the “franchise point guard of the future they desperately want.” Russell also reportedly talked to Karl Towns Sr. during a basketball camp in Brooklyn – Towns is the father of Karl-Anthony Towns, who plays for Minnesota.
The Jazz reportedly have interest in landing Russell this offseason. But, according to The Athletic, the Jazz would hope the Nets renounce Russell’s cap hold and make him an unrestricted free agent instead of having to deal with restricted free agency. It’s unclear how likely the Nets are to doing that and whether their interest has dwindled since reportedly acquiring Mike Conley Jr. from the Memphis Grizzlies.
While Jordan Clarkson was among those predicting Russell will go to the Suns this summer, it doesn’t appear they will have enough money to sign the point guard. The Suns have “openly coveted” Russell, according to ESPN. But salary cap restrictions would prohibit Phoenix from making the splash move.