After a failed three-peat, the Golden State Warriors took another huge blow in the 2019 NBA free agency period when they lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets. Luckily, the Warriors still managed to acquire something in return for their departing superstar. In a sign-and-trade deal with the Nets, the Warriors received D'Angelo Russell in exchange for Durant.
Even though Russell could somewhat fill the hole Durant left on the offensive end of the floor, there is currently a question regarding his fit in Golden State's roster, especially once Klay Thompson fully recovers from an injury. In an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show last month, via YouTube, Marc Stein of The New York Times said that the Warriors will eventually trade Russell, as it's only going to be "a matter of when."
Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report recently created a list of blockbuster deals that could further shake up the power balance in the Eastern and Western Conferences. For the Warriors, Bailey suggested that they could engage in a trade negotiation with the Philadelphia 76ers in mid-December involving D'Angelo Russell and Tobias Harris.
On paper, the Sixers already have a formidable starting lineup with Ben Simmons running the point, Josh Richardson playing at the shooting guard position, Tobias Harris in the wing, and Al Horford and Joel Embiid covering the frontcourt. However, Bailey believes swapping Harris for D'Angelo Russell will give the Sixers a "more balanced" roster.
"In theory, Philly's jumbo starting lineup of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Harris, Al Horford and Joel Embiid is intriguing. But Russell, Richardson, Simmons, Horford and Embiid may be more balanced, has another layer of shot creation with Russell and isn't quite as reliant on Simmons at the point of attack. Philadelphia could also stagger Russell and Simmons, giving them a full 48 minutes with a top-tier initiator on the floor. The Warriors could employ a similar strategy with Russell and Curry, but Harris could potentially be a better version of the Harrison Barnes they had for their 73-win season."Trading Russell for Harris would be a no-brainer for the Warriors. Though Harris has yet to reach the level of Kevin Durant, he would still be an incredible replacement for him in the wing. In the 27 games he played with the Sixers, the 27-year-old small forward averaged 18.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The potential core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Tobias Harris, and Draymond Green may not be as offensively talented as their starting lineup in the past three years, but it would be enough to help the Warriors defend their throne in the Western Conference and reclaim the NBA championship in the 2019-20 NBA season.