“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,” the spokesperson said.
The Nets said in a statement that they “have been made aware of the situation” involving Russell, and that they “are in the process of gathering more information at this time.” He was not arrested by Port Authority police.
New York marijuana laws include a nonclassified penalty with a $100 fine for possession of less than 25 grams on a first offense, and a misdemeanor penalty, including a $300 fine and the possibility of three months in prison, for possession of 25 grams to two ounces.
Russell, who just completed his fourth season in the NBA and second with Brooklyn, was reportedly flying from New York to Louisville, where he grew up. Selected second overall out of Ohio State by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015 draft, Russell’s two seasons with that team were marked by plenty of losses and an incident in which he was reported to have secretly recorded teammate Nick Young talking about cheating on his fiancee.
That episode created turmoil in the Lakers’ locker room and may have led to Russell being traded to the Nets in June 2017. With Brooklyn, the 6-foot-5 point guard has blossomed, and he made his first All-Star Game this season while averaging 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals.
The Nets’ season ended on April 23, when they were ousted in five games from their first-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Russell will be a restricted free agent this offseason, meaning that teams can offer him a four-year contract worth as much as $117 million.
The Nets, though, would have the right to match any offer, unless they renounce those rights. Under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, they could also offer him a contract extension potentially worth as much as $158 million over five years.
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