The Warriors lost Kevin Durant to free agency, a huge blow to the roster of what was one of the greatest teams ever assembled, but they didn’t lose him for nothing. Not completely. The Warriors were able to execute a sign-and-trade of Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, receiving All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in return.
The fit of Russell in Golden State, however, is a strange one. He’s not a 3-point shooter the caliber of Steph Curry or Klay Thompson, and used an enormous amount of pick and rolls during his time Brooklyn. How he’ll transition into Steve Kerr’s free-flowing offense predicated on off-ball movement remains to be seen, but it almost feels like the Warriors are looking at Russell as an asset more than a key part of their future.
And according to the New York Times‘ Marc Stein, that’s exactly the case. Stein joined The Dan Patrick Show on Monday morning and reported that it’s not a matter of if the Warriors ship Russell elsewhere, but when. (Clip courtesy of AT&T AUDIENCE Network.)
“This is all about the future,” Stein said. “D’Angelo Russell doesn’t fit there whatsoever. They just wanted to make sure that they did not see Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the league when healthy, walk out the door for nothing. They got a 23-year-old All-Star. They will trade him. It’s just a matter of when. This was really about the Warriors protecting themselves for the future.”
The 2019-2020 season will be an odd one for the Warriors. Thompson will miss a chunk of time as he continues to recover from the torn ACL he suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Andre Igudoala was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, which meant the Warriors lost two Finals MVPs in a single day.
The Warriors will have to move on from a few other bench players to make room for Russell’s salary. But as Stein reports, Golden State already have their eyes on year two in the brand new Chase Arena. And Russell does not appear to be a part of that future in the long term.