D’Angelo Russell would be an exciting addition to the Dallas Mavericks blossoming young core.
SNY reporter Ian Begley’s recent report states that the Brooklyn Nets would likely not retain All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell if they land Kyrie Irving in free agency—potentially the team’s top target this summer. The report also mentions that the Nets are the favorites to land Irving at the moment, something that has been alluded to by other NBA reporters the past few weeks.
This is a major development because Russell is a restricted free agent, meaning the Nets can match any offer from another team. They have complete control of Russell. If they want him, they can keep him. If they do not like the fit between him and Kyrie—or they want to use Kyrie to try and attract another max free agent—then that’s why they’d let Russell walk.
Clearly the Dallas Mavericks have their sights on big fish free agents once again this summer with Kemba Walker, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, and Khris Middleton all being rumored as targets. The aforementioned Walker is also a point guard, like Russell, proving that the team likes the idea of putting another dynamic playmaker next to Doncic.
Many fans might point to the awkward pairing of Dennis Smith Jr. and Doncic last season as a reason to not go after Russell. A few things make Russell a much better fit.
For one, he is a far better outside shooter. Russell shot 37% from long range on just under 8 attempts a game. Smith Jr. shot only 32% on just under 4 attempts from deep each game. This makes Russell a far better catch-and-shoot option and should create more space for Doncic.
Russell also has ample experience playing off the ball, something Smith Jr. seemed uncomfortable doing. Russell has shared the floor with Lonzo Ball, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert over his short career.
All of those players demanded the ball in their hands quite often when on the court—Russell has already proven he can share the ball and make an impact without it.
The next thing is that Russell is a much better passer than DSJ. Going beyond just the assists advantage Russell has, Russell has excellent court vision and can make spectacular passes all over the floor not unlike Luka Doncic.
Finally, Russell stands at 6’5″ with a 6’10” wingspan. That extra length means a lot especially when it comes to switching on the defensive end. The Mavericks would have the foundation for a big, long team with Russell, Doncic, and Kristaps Porzingis all being tall for their positions.
Everything starts with the Brooklyn Nets signing Kyrie Irving. If Irving moves to Brooklyn and the Nets decide not to prioritize Russell, the Mavericks should capitalize on another talented young player becoming available sooner than he should.