When the Golden State Warriors traded for guard D’Angelo Russell, it was widely considered a weird marriage.
Bob Myers was trying to maximize both short-and-long term value for the departing Kevin Durant, who signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
When the trade was originally made, the Warriors said Russell was going to be a foundational piece. With Klay Thompson out for the year with an ACL injury, it was assumed Russell would play next to Steph Curry and help the Dubs compete for a playoff spot.
That changed four games in, when Curry injured his hand, effectively ending any hope of a postseason berth.
Russell only played 33 games with the Warriors before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins and a lightly protected 2021 first-round pick, which should be in the lottery.
The 24-year-old was asked about his time with the Dubs during an Instagram Live stream:
“It was dope, man,” Russel said. “The culture of winning is ... not easy to build. It comes through time. The culture that they had over there, you see why they win. You see why they had the success that they had. They just do it right. It’s a lot of special basketball minds over there that just drive that ship over there. It was dope; I enjoyed the whole experience.”
Russell put up some good offensive numbers during his short stint in the Bay Area, averaging 23.1 points and 6.3 assists per game. The downside of his time with the Warriors was his defensive play and a lack of effort when the ball wasn’t in his hands on the offensive end.
It was a head scratching move when Golden State acquired him and Myers insisted he was in the long-term plans, even though a lineup with Russell and Curry was going to have defensive problems.
The Dubs moved on quickly from the D-Lo experiment. He doesn’t have the maturity to fit in with a team that has championship aspirations next season.
Even though the Warriors have taken on Andrew Wiggins’ monster contract, they still made out pretty well in the bigger scheme of things. Using the 2019-20 year to reload and acquire assets to make another run.
If Golden State didn’t make the sign-and-trade deal to get Russell back for Durant, Myers and co. would have found themselves in tough spot with the salary cap. The fact the team avoided the repeater-tax, which saved ownership roughly $60 million and were able to recoup the first-round pick they sent the Nets should be seen as a win.
The Warriors are well-positioned to be back the top of the NBA next season. With a top-five pick all but guaranteed in the 2020 NBA Draft and the T-Wolves pick next year, Myers will have plenty of options to round out the roster.
Did you think Russell was going to be around long-term when the Warriors got him last year?
Onto some more news:
- Draymond Green is the perfect villain: Green is perfect for the role. His game, attitude and toughness made him a lightning rod on the Dubs. NBC Bay Area goes into detail about how important Green is to the franchise.
- Steph Curry is so easy to like: The Warriors’ superstar has been vocal and active in helping those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. He wrote a piece for TIME about the importance of sticking together during this unprecedented time.
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom says we shouldn’t anticipate being able to attend games until at least the fall: With no certainty on when things will get back to normal, The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami goes over the some of the risks facing players and spectators once the sports world resumes.
- The dynamics are changing for potential NBA players: The NBA’s G League is about to become a lot more entertaining. With prep star Jalen Green deciding to skip college and sign a $500,000 contract in the G League, The Ringer looks at the impact it has on the NCAA now and in the future.