“We want to thank him for what he did for us,” Johnson said. “But what I needed was a leader.”Not the kindest of statements. But, with Johnson’s resignation at the end of the year, it’s possible Russell has no one to dislike left in the franchise.So we’ll see what happens, but it certainly appears a return could be in the cards for Russell. NBA free agency rumors: Celtics making Nikola Vucevic a ‘top priority’ The Lakers want to bring back D’Angelo Russell.Los Angeles has a strong interest in signing the Nets guard in free agency, according to Bleacher Report. NBA Draft 2019: Bol Bol aims to ‘prove everybody wrong’ after fall from first round The team plans to have a face-to-face meeting with Russell when free agency officially begins June 30.A source within the Lakers organization not authorized to speak publicly has confirmed to me that the Lakers have strong interest in free agent guard D’Angelo Russell. I’m told the Lakers FO plan to have a face to face meeting with Russell at the beginning of free agency.— Arye Abraham (@arye_abraham) June 21, 2019Russell also reportedly has mutual interest in returning to Los Angeles. Related News “If the money is right,” one source told Bleacher report.A source close to the situation has confirmed to me that D’Angelo Russell has reciprocal interest in the Lakers “if the money is right,” I’m told he loves Los Angeles and has no ill will towards LAL now that Magic Johnson is gone.— Arye Abraham (@arye_abraham) June 21, 2019The return of Russell would have a couple of interesting aspects. For one, the Lakers don’t currently have a third max slot available, which would make it very difficult to sign the Nets guard.However, they are trying to clear up space for a max slot by trading one or a collection of Mo Wagner, Isaac Bonga or Jemerrio Jones. That could clear up space, and if they convince Anthony Davis to waive his trade kicker, they could save another few million as well.Secondly, Russell didn’t exactly leave Los Angeles on good terms, and former team president Magic Johnson wasn’t exactly complimentary of the guard on his way out.