The Golden State Warriors haven’t been active at the NBA trade deadline so far, but their former players are right in the thick of things.
Also in deal: Juan Toscano-Anderson and Damian Jones to Jazz, Nickeil Alexander-Walker to the Timberwolves, sources said.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
Sure, there are Hall of Famers, All-Stars, and gritty young power forwards who would have been a perfect fit on the Warriors involved in this deal, but let’s ask the most important questions: What does this mean for Juan Toscano-Anderson?
Toscano-Anderson, a Klutch Sports client, signed with the Lakers in the off-season and actually played quite a bit at times. But when Anthony Davis returned from injury and the Lakers traded for Rui Hachimura, JTA fell out of the rotation. Despite his struggles and lack of Space Jam: A New Legacy pedigree, he’s still only played one fewer game than The Brow so far.
Damian Jones, the Warriors’ first-round pick from 2016 who once started a game in the Western Conference Finals and played three minutes and seventeen seconds, is also heading to Utah in the deal. He played sparingly for the Lakers this year, even though Coach Darvin Ham insisted he could teach Jones to shoot three-pointers. He only attempted three all year, which makes us think that LeBron James saw him spotting up behind the arc, said “Absolutely not,” and that plan was abandoned. Or it’s that anyone who tries to shoot threes for this year’s Lakers team is cursed.
There is one other former Warrior involved in this deal. It’s D’Angelo Russell, who played 33 games in 2019-20 before getting traded for Andrew Wiggins and the theoretical idea of Jonathan Kuminga.
ESPN Sources: The Lakers are finalizing deal to land Minnesota’s D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt in trade including Mike Conley and picks to Timberwolves and Russell Westbrook and a lightly protected 2027 LA first-round pick to Jazz.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2023
Russell returns to the team that drafted him second overall in 2015. The Lakers traded him away after they drafted Lonzo Ball in 2017, and after Russell secretly taped his teammate, Warriors legend Nick Young, admitting he cheated on Australian rapper Iggy Azalea. NBA Action: It’s Fan-tastic!
(Confidential to James Wiseman: Sometimes it doesn’t work out between a team and its Number One pick. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, or a bad player, or that no one appreciates how you taught yourself to speak Mandarin.)
The Los Angeles Lakers are now a legitimate contender! For the play-in tournament, but a contender nonetheless. They added a legitimate outside shooting threat in Malik Beasley, who needed an instruction manual to smoke weed, and Jarred Vanderbilt, a tough rebounder and energy defender. But they didn’t play for the Warriors, so who cares?
The Minnesota Timberwolves added Mike Conley Jr., who overcame a broken face to stun the Warriors in (one game of) a playoff series in 2016. He reunites with Rudy Gobert, another player who has lost to Golden State in the playoffs. And then a guy named Russell Westbrook is headed to the Utah Jazz and likely getting a buyout. We can state with 99.9% confidence that he will not be signing with the Warriors afterward.
It’s a shrewd move for the Lakers, and making fun of these players will clearly blow up in our faces when Jarred Vanderbilt hits a 35-footer to knock the Warriors out of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game in April.
But until then we will worry about Juan Toscano-Anderson and his NBA future. JTA, the Warriors will always have a home for you in the Bay. It just might be closer to Monterey Bay.