Nets All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell was detained Wednesday night at LaGuardia Airport when a search of his luggage by TSA personnel revealed that he was transporting a small amount of marijuana. A spokeswoman for the New York Port Authority Police told Newsday that Russell was issued a summons for possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana and released.
The incident took place at about 8 p.m. at Terminal C, according to Port Authority Police.
“TSA officers detected marijuana in a traveler’s checked bag [Wednesday] night at LaGuardia Airport and contacted Port Authority Police,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told Newsday. “The marijuana was concealed inside a beverage can with a hidden compartment. It was one of those AriZona [Iced Tea] beverage cans with a screw-off lid that people hide things in.”
Russell, who was identified by Port Authority police as the traveler in possession of the bag containing marijuana, was released and flew to Louisville, Kentucky, where he grew up and where his father still lives.
“We have been made aware of the situation involving D’Angelo Russell and are in the process of gathering more information at this time,” the Nets said in a statement.
Russell is coming off a career season in which he averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists and 3.9 rebounds and had a three-point shooting percentage of .369, all career-high numbers. He was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team in February and led the Nets to their first playoff berth since 2015 with a 42-40 record that represented a 14-win improvement over the previous season.
Russell, 23, is at the end of his rookie contract and is eligible for an extension. He will become a restricted free agent on July 1, but the Nets would have the right to match any offer. His roster slot has a salary-cap hold worth $21.1 million, and if the Nets renounced it, they could increase their available salary-cap room from a projected $30 million to more than $50 million.