Los Angeles Lakers: Realistic predictions for 2019 NBA free agency

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
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Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /

1. D’Angelo Russell returns to Laker Land

When the reports of a potential reunion first emerged, the concept seemed absurd. Why would D’Angelo Russell ever be interested in returning to the team that traded him away without a second thought? Then, the sense of a move like this began to sink in.

For starters, Magic is gone. The guy who sent Russell packing is no longer running the show, which could lessen the resentment factor. Nick Young is also no longer on the roster, which wipes the slate clean from a camaraderie standpoint.

Here’s the other (and probably more important part): The Lakers are going to whiff on the other stars set to be available.

Honestly, it’s unlikely there’s real interest in Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson considering their current injuries. Kawhi Leonard is reportedly giving the Lakers and their crosstown rivals meetings, but he seems destined to return to the Toronto Raptors or join the Los Angeles Clippers. Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving also seem set for different destinations when the market opens. What about Jimmy Butler, you ask? Just no.

That leaves Russell as the next best “superstar” to team with James and Davis. It’s a solid consolation prize for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s the home run they were hoping for. And yet, it leaves them just enough cap space to make another quality depth signing to fill out this skeleton of a roster.

Predicting where the top 2019 NBA free agents will land. dark. Next

With Irving potentially headed for Brooklyn, the Nets may have no need for Russell. They’ll likely renounce his rights, opening the door for the Lakers to book him a return flight to the City of Angels.