D’Angelo Russell sure does have a ton of connections with the BBN.
Not even a week after Karl-Anthony Towns stated that he is hoping his team – the Minnesota Timberwolves – would go after the Louisville native in free agency, Devin Booker is now hopping in on the action.
According to ESPN‘s Zach Lowe, Booker has been campaigning for the Suns to sign Russell this summer. Russell is set to become a restricted free agent on June 30th coming off an impressive season in Brooklyn that landed him his first ever All-Star appearance.
Booker and Russell have long been good friends. They met at a basketball camp as teenagers. I recently recall seeing the two of them on Booker’s Instagram spending time on a fancy boat together. Booker said back in November he would “love” to play with Russell, who responded by saying “you never know” in regards to the two teaming up. “It’s not something I really can control,” Russell said. In just a few short days, he actually will have control over the situation. This isn’t something new to these guys. They’ve clearly been thinking about this for a while.
However, it all depends on if Phoenix can open up the required space to add Russell into the mix. It has long been known that the Suns are desperate for a point guard and Russell will be one of the biggest names in free agency at that position. He could potentially garner a max-deal if his agent can make it happen, but the Suns currently only have about $13 million in space after extending a Qualifying Offer to Kelly Oubre.
But even before that, the Suns were only looking at around $22-23 million in cap space, a few million short of the $27-28 million that Russell would earn in the first year of a max-level deal. Russell could potentially take a pay cut to sign with Pheonix, although the Nets can match any offer sheet since Russell restricted. Before any of that, though, they’ll need to shed some more salary.
Until Booker finally finds his backcourt partner, this is always going to be the biggest gripe against the Suns. They’ve already had a questionable offseason that is only getting weirder. Now they’ll have to decide if Russell is truly worth the money, or if his excellent season in 2018-19 was merely a fluke.