D’Angelo Russell was seen as a great addition to the Golden State Warriors.Yet as trade season frenzy approaches, Russell finds himself in many rumors.
After the offseason dramatics had subsided, D’Angelo Russell was seen as a great rebound for the Golden State Warriors from the subtraction of MVP Kevin Durant. Yet as the trade season frenzy approaches, the coveted free agent in Russell finds himself in the midst of rumors.
When a team only a season removed from being a title contender shows signs of under-performing, trades eventually become the apparent solution. Unfortunate as it may be for the Warriors, health is an important skill set in today’s game and one that they severely lack at the moment.
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With a barrage of injuries affecting stars and role players alike, the topic of whether D’Angelo Russell should be considered a long-term option has resurfaced.
Not only was a sign-and-trade executed to obtain the services of Russell, the move was complemented with a four-year, $117 million deal. Adding his salary to the books leaves the Warriors with little to no space under the hard cap to pull off a trade without his inclusion, but should he be considered movable in the first place?
For what it’s worth, D’Angelo Russell has lived up to the heftiness of his contract. He’s currently averaging 22.4 points along with 6.2 assists per game. His scoring average has achieved a slight uptick from his prior season in Brooklyn, though he’s only played a fraction of games thus far.
The foreseen adjustment that he would’ve had to make has been sidelined due to key injuries of fellow stars Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, which has given him a similar role to that in Brooklyn, allowing him ample time to gain confidence in his new city.
The idea of Russell being moved so prematurely given the untimely injury of Curry is unlikely. The Golden State Warriors will likely look for a high draft pick in return, which they more than likely could obtain without moving any pieces given their less than impressive record.
Much was similarly noted by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who stated that the notion around the league is that the Warriors will stand pat at the trade deadline.
“If you are going to move D’Angelo Russell, it is in a big deal. To me, a scenario where he could move is (with) that number one pick. The Warriors could have the No. 1 overall pick — you got to see where it is. He’s not available, (but) that would be like a Bradley Beal level player. You’re (the Wizards) getting a potential cornerstone pick and a 23-year-old All-Star.
“I think there are very few scenarios in the league where that’s available to them (the Warriors). It doesn’t make much sense for Golden State to be out there canvassing the league.”
The disparity of D’Angelo Russell’s current situation is that his All-Star averages haven’t produced a winning record, as the Golden State Warriors find themselves in last place of the gritty Western Conference. They’ve won a meager eight of their 32 games. Other role players have stepped up on certain nights, but none to amount to any amount of noticeable success.
Both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are highly unlikely to return by the end of the regular season, and the team is all but guaranteed to not crack the playoffs with the current level of success.
With the current season practically erased, the Warriors’ front office could look towards the future and clear Russell off the books while acquiring young, valuable picks in return; one team in particular that’s knowingly shown interest would be the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Russell has proven his surefire All-Star status while also being a young piece to build around in the near future as Curry and Thompson begin to age past their primes.
The trade deadline can always be pressuring for teams willing to make in-season moves to push themselves further into the playoffs, but nothing good will come of the Warriors passing on a young star in Russell for a possible talent in the future.