Russell motivated after seeing Booker get max deal
Suffice it to say, his first season with the Nets was a disappointment, missing 34 games with injury and struggling to live up to the expectations of a No. 2 overall draft pick.
Russell, however, is motivated to take the leap in his fourth season, especially after seeing his good friend Devin Booker sign a five-year, $158-million extension with the Phoenix Suns this summer. With Russell set to become a restricted free agent next summer, he's preparing for the best season of his young career with hopes of a potentially hefty pay raise ahead of him.
"I'm in the greatest place ever, honestly," Russell told The Athletic's Michael Scotto. "Like you said, motivation. I see my best friend sign a max deal. I know where we came from, so that's plenty motivation that I need. I wake up every morning and go to train, and I feel like I'm in the best shape. I don't know. The sky is the limit."
Russell is eligible for an extension before the season starts, but the guard's primary focus has been getting back on the court.
"I just want to play, to be honest," Russell said. "That's really been my main focus. Staying healthy and finishing the season on a positive note. As a team, there's a lot that we can really work on. Those have really been outweighing my thoughts on an extension and all of that."
Russell's time in L.A. was marred by a broken locker room and inconsistent play, as the Lakers inevitably dealt the Ohio State alum in exchange for Brook Lopez and a late 2017 first-round pick (Kyle Kuzma).
In 48 appearances last season, Russell averaged 15.5 points and 5.2 assists.
- Report: Rosas' leadership style, team performance led to firing
- Rivers confirms Simmons wants out: 'We're going to try' to get Ben back
- Report: Zion's 1st-year rehab caused 'significant tension' with medical staff
- Warriors owner Lacob fined $50K for Simmons comments
- Who are the Spurs now, and where are they going?