The NBA’s trade deadline will arrive on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET, and the biggest name on the potential trade market is Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell. The All-Star from a year ago inked a four-year max deal with Golden State this summer in a sign-and-trade that sent Kevin Durant to the Nets, and despite the insistence of the Warriors that they wanted to keep him longterm, the fit was always a tricky one.
Russell didn’t seem an ideal player to put next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and it always seemed as if they would eventually entertain trade offers for him. The question was when they would do that, rather than if, as it pertained to this February’s deadline or this summer approaching the NBA Draft.
It appears as though they are at the very least actively listening to offers right now, per the latest report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski. According to the report, the Warriors have had discussions with the Timberwolves and the Knicks about a Russell trade, with it being made clear that any deal will need to be focused on draft picks.
So far in the Warriors-Timberwolves talks, Golden State would only consider a deal that has significant draft pick compensation as part of any Minnesota package, according to league sources.
The Knicks have also registered interest in Russell and discussed potential packages, league sources said. But the Warriors could choose to hold onto him until at least this summer to see if more deals materialize when they would no longer be hard capped.
The last part of that has always been the biggest obstacle in a Russell deal, as it would be much easier to make a trade happen in the summer rather than now, but if either the Knicks or Wolves — who have been attached to D’Lo since this past summer — feel desperate enough to try and get this deal done ASAP, it appears the phone lines are open.
The report states Minnesota will, to this point, not give up this year’s first round pick, unprotected. The Wolves have also been rumored to be discussing various Robert Covington trade packages, in which they are apparently asking for two first round picks. As we start to try and piece together the trade deadline puzzle, we see that might be because the Warriors are asking for significant draft compensation for Russell and a Covington deal, if they can land a pair of picks, could precipitate a Russell deal to give them more draft capital to burn that isn’t their pick this year.
New York, meanwhile, has the expiring contracts (and contracts with small guarantees for next season) to make something work for Russell, as well as a pretty significant amount of future firsts thanks to the Kristaps Porzingis trade with Dallas. However, like the Wolves, it remains to be seen whether they’ll part with one of their highly coveted picks in the next couple years without there being protections placed on them.