Los Angeles, June 26: Magic Johnson believes the Los Angeles Lakers should consider re-signing D'Angelo Russell from the Brooklyn Nets.
Russell spent his first two seasons in Los Angeles after being drafted with the second pick in 2015, before he was traded to the Nets in 2017 by Johnson and the Lakers.
The 23-year-old guard earned his first All-Star appearance in 2018-19 as he led the Nets to the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.
However, Russell – who will be a restricted free agent and the Nets can match any other sheet he signs with another team – "may be open" to returning to the Lakers according to reporters.
Johnson, who stepped down as the Lakers' president of basketball operations in April, feels a reunion would be good for both sides.
"He's better now," Johnson told The Athletic. "He's a different player. He's more mature."
The Nets are expected to pursue Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving, which may make Russell expendable. The Lakers also reportedly have interest in Irving as they prepare to finalise a trade for New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis.
Russell averaged a career-high 21.1 points and 7.0 assists while shooting 36.9 per cent from three-point range in 81 games in 2018-19.
The Nets exceeded expectations last season by making it to the postseason. They were topped by the Philadelphia 76ers in five games in their first-round series.
"If we're being completely honest, I enjoyed the team that we had this whole season," Russell told The New York Post about free agency earlier this month. "I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy our team, and the pieces we had around."
Russell is more likely to think about signing with the Lakers because of Johnson's resignation, according to Bleacher Report.
The guard has also been linked to the Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns, amongst others.
Los Angeles are also expected to pursue Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard, amongst others.