Lakers Rumors: D'Angelo Russell Had $100 Million Offer Before Warriors Trade

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 04: D'Angelo Russell #0 of the Golden State Warriors watches on against the Charlotte Hornets during their game at Spectrum Center on December 04, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Kawhi Leonard's methodical approach to picking his new home in free agency left the Los Angeles Lakers stuck in a holding pattern.

The longer he waited, the more likely a backup plan could disappear. And that delay ended up preventing the organization from making a serious run at D'Angelo Russell.

According to Anthony Slater of The Athletic, the All-Star had three legitimate options but only one guaranteed contract offer: "The Lakers ... nearing a potential $100 million offer but in limbo until Kawhi Leonard made his choice, the Wolves, up over $100 million but still needing to create cap room to get to his max, and the Warriors, offering the full max in a complicated sign-and-trade involving [Kevin] Durant."

Russellthe No. 2 overall pick of the Lakers in 2016wasted little time making the choice. He picked the complicated sign-and-trade route to join the Golden State Warriors.

One week later, Leonard headed to the Los Angeles Clippers and linked up with Paul George, who the Oklahoma City Thunder dealt. That decision set in motion the Lakers' backup option of signing Danny Green and several other depth pieces.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 8: Danny Green #14 of the Los Angeles Lakers high fives his teammates during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 8, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
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With Kawhi no longer a possibility, perhaps that course was the next-best direction anyway.

Green inked a two-year deal for $30 million, per HoopsHype. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope signed a two-year pact worth $16.6 million, though he holds a player option for 2020-21.

DeMarcus Cousins, Quinn Cook, JaVale McGee, Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo agreed to contracts, as Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels had done previously. Dwight Howard later landed a one-year agreement to fill out the Lakers roster as they unsuccessfully waitedand still dofor once-hoped buyout candidate Andre Igoudala.

Yes, the Lakers could have added a few of those players on minimum-salary deals anyway, but they would've sacrificed much of that depth to add Russell. (The team also picked up Avery Bradley by using a $4.76 million room exception.)

Fast-forward to mid-December as the regular season nears the one-third mark and the Lakers hold an NBA-best 22-3 record.

Green has started all 25 games so far, providing consistent and excellent defense while shooting 37.9 percent from three-point range. That defensive versatility has proved especially important with Bradley missing time because of a leg injury.

One of Bradley and Caldwell-Pope have completed the starting lineup next to LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Green and McGee. When both wings are healthy, the other is a top reserve alongside Kyle Kuzma, Rondo, Caruso and Howard.

Russell is a valuable, young and promising player, but the Lakers' backup plan has turned out just fine.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR