The Golden State Warriors found themselves in a weird spot this summer. With Kevin Durant on the way out of town and the team in a tough spot financially, there weren’t many avenues for them to add talent. But fortunately for them, they got the opportunity to land D’Angelo Russell via a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets as part of Durant’s move to New York.
Getting Russell came from out of left field, but it also meant the Dubs got a young All-Star on a lengthy and lucrative contract, which one report indicated meant he could turn into trade bait in the future. There have since been conflicting reports on that, with the latest rebuke of the “sign him to trade him” stance coming from Keith Smith of RealGM.
Smith spoke to numerous executives at Summer League, with one executive from Golden State strongly denying that the team views Russell as a piece that exists to be traded down the line.
“I’m trying to be nice, but that is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” the executive said. “A 23-year-old All-Star on a four-year deal better be someone you can trade easily, or we’re all idiots. Did we sign D’Angelo to trade him? No. We signed him because we had an opportunity to land an All-Star to replace the All-Star we were losing. Let’s not play conspiracy theory here.”
Russell does have a ton of value for the Warriors as a ball handler/creator next to Steph Curry and a scorer, especially while Klay Thompson is out due to knee surgery. Perhaps plans will change down the line, but for now, it is probably safe to think that Golden State hopes Russell will ply his trade in the team’s backcourt for a long, long time.