Up in Smoke: Weed bust clouds Russell’s pending free agency

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Image courtesy of USA Today

Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell was busted at LaGuardia International Airport Wednesday while reportedly attempting to slip marijuana in a hidden compartment inside an Arizona Iced Tea Can.

Russell, 23, was headed to his hometown of Louisville, Ky. for Kentucky Derby festivities. It couldn’t come at a worse time. While the marijuana stigma is certainly not what it used to be, it’s still illegal in many states.

The summer of his discontent

This summer, Russell is seeking a huge deal as he’s one of the more interesting free agency stories this offseason. If the Nets fail to land an elite free agent, D’Lo should be back with a nice, new, contract. As a restricted free agent, the Nets can match any offer that puts them in the driver’s seat.

However, things might get dicey between the two parties if they go after other free agents before taking care of him. For a team that’s slowly dug itself out of the hole following the Danny Ainge fleecing of the Brooklyn Nets in 2013 that resulted in the acquisition of most of their 1st round picks in the coming years, they can’t make a mistake again.

Two teams have more cap space than the Nets this summer; the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Kevin Durant has been linked to both teams and Russell made his first All Star team this year. As such, he expects a deal starting at $20 million.

And, after seeing Russell average 21.2 points and 7.0 assists while leading the Nets to the playoffs after years of being the laughing stock of the league, it would be hard to see him walk. Especially considering how many teams need high-quality point guard help this summer.

While Russell’s maturity has been an issue dating back to the Lakers, he’s been in no real trouble to date and this latest incident should only result in citations and fines. But, for a team that’s invested at least $20 million annually, it’s time for Russell to become the man off the court that he is on the court.

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