The Los Angeles Lakers have already arranged meetings with their target free agents few days ahead of the start of the NBA free agency period, per NBC Los Angeles reporter Fred Roggin.

The Lakers, expected to be armed with around $32 million in cap space, have reportedly booked a face-to-face meeting with Brooklyn Nets All-Star D’Angelo Russell, who is a restricted free agent.

According to Sr. NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Russell has now become the Lakers’ top free agent target while keeping their options open on other marquee free agents.

'Russell Dazzle' with the Lakers

Russell, 23, is coming off an All-Star season, averaging 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game while sporting 43.4 percent FG% and 36.9 3PT%. He finished second to Toronto Raptors’ forward Pascal Siakam in the Most Improved Player of the Year voting, garnering 12 of the possible 100 first-place votes.

Taken No.2 overall by the Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft, Russell spent his first two seasons in L.A before he was shipped along with Timofey Mozgov to the Nets as a salary-dump move by the then-Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson in 2017.

Under the tutelage of Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, Russell matured well and blossomed into one of the best young players in the league today.

Arye Abraham, an independent NBA insider covering the Lakers, revealed that Russell has reciprocal interest in the Lakers “if the money is right.” Moreover, the point guard no longer has ill feeling towards the Lakers now that Magic Johnson is gone from the organization.

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More free-agency appointments

The Lakers front-office is anticipating a fully-booked schedule starting July 1, as they make their pitches to key free agents.

Aside from Russell, Roggin revealed that the Lakers are set to meet a defensive specialist and lights-out shooter in the coming days. Nothing is mentioned about the identity of these players, but indications are strong that Loggin is referring to Patrick Beverley and JJ Redick.

Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News mentioned the Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Lakers as the three teams who will likely pursue Beverley in the open market.

Beverley, who built a reputation as a hard-nosed defender, will command a contract that pays around $10 million per year. Other NBA pundits believe the veteran guard can even scoop a $15 million per year deal, depending on the situation.

Meanwhile, the Lakers’ interest in Redick isn’t surprising at all considering the team’s free agency plan from the start is to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with terrific shooters and floor spacers.

Redick, 35, shot below 40 percent from 3-point area for the first time in five years, yet he’s expected to be among the most-sought guards in this free agency class given the immense value of lights-out shooters to any contending team in today’s NBA.

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