For the third time in his young career, D’Angelo Russell is spending his summer preparing to join a new team. The former No. 2 overall pick with the Lakers was dealt after two years in Los Angeles to the Brooklyn Nets, where he blossomed into an All-Star last year before entering his first free agency summer as a restricted free agent.
When the Nets agreed to a deal with Kyrie Irving to replace Russell at point guard, it was time for Russell to really open up his free agency search, as he could effectively operate as an unrestricted player. Joining Irving in Brooklyn was Kevin Durant, which opened up a unique opportunity for Russell to sign a max contract and join the otherwise capped-out Warriors by way of a sign-and-trade. It was a move that stunned many, particularly given the presence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on max deals in the backcourt, but Russell and the Warriors clearly see a fit.
Steve Kerr brushed aside concerns that Russell, Curry, and Thompson may be an odd fit together when asked about it at USA Basketball camp, as did Klay Thompson, who called Russell a “budding superstar” in an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN. It’s clear the Russell signing has the full support of the locker room, but we still haven’t heard much from the man himself about how that decision came about and why he’s also not concerned about the fit.
We got the chance to talk with Russell last week via Foot Locker and Nike, as he partners with them on the We Live Sneakers campaign. Russell talked with Dime about his brief taste of free agency, the crazy summer in the NBA, why he’s not worried about fit in Golden State, and why he feels ready to contribute to another playoff run for the Warriors.
Obviously it’s been a pretty eventful summer for you and the league as a whole, how has the last month been as you make another move?
Yeah, it was definitely a crazy offseason for me and the NBA, but I think that’s what the league’s all about. All the excitement, new faces, and new opportunities.
What was the free agency process like for you and how did you come to the decision that Golden State was the place you wanted to be?
It was a fun process going through it for the first time. Golden State came out and into the light with the opportunity and the situation, and I just wanted to go to the best situation and I thought that’s what it was at the end of the day.