D’Angelo Russell has been with the Golden State Warriors for less than 24 hours, and he’s already being mentioned in trade rumors.
The guard, who played the last two seasons with the Brooklyn Nets, was traded to the Warriors on Sunday night in a shocking sign-and-trade deal, hours after the official start of NBA free agency. In order to free-up room for Russell, the Warriors traded Andre Iguodala, a mainstay of their championship teams in recent years, to the Memphis Grizzlies, per ESPN.com.
The deal happened hours after Kevin Durant formerly announced that he was leaving the Warriors to sign with the Brooklyn Nets. Russell will receive $117 million over four years from Golden State.
Russell, who had been linked in recent weeks to such teams as the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves, had not been rumored at any time to be headed to the Warriors, who were both lacking in cap space and already beyond solid at the guard position with Steph Curry and the newly re-signed Klay Thompson. Both are likely future Hall of Famers, although Thompson will sit out much of next season due to his knee injury.
Now, one top NBA reporter says Russell may not be a Warrior for long.
“De’Angelo Russell does not fit there whatsoever,” New York Times reporter Marc Stein said on Monday morning on The Dan Patrick Show, as posted to Twitter by Andrew Perloff, who works on the show.
“They just did not want to see Kevin Durant walk out the door with no compensation,” Stein added. “They will trade him. It’s just a matter of when.”
I saw a 19-year-old come from LA to NY, ready to take on the world and change his reputation. I learned about D’Angelo, the person. I saw a leader emerge and team grow right in front of my eyes.
It was short-lived, but it was fun.
— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) June 30, 2019
It’s possible that the Warriors could trade Russell once Thompson returns, or play the three of them together as an unusually small lineup.
As it stands now, the Warriors have very few veteran players under contract. Per a tweet by Anthony Slater, who covers the team for The Athletic, the team’s current players are Curry, Thompson, Russell, Draymond Green and several bottom-of-the-roster types: Alfonzo McKinnie, Jacob Evans, Damian Jones, Jordan Poole, Eric Paschall, Shabazz Napier, Treveon Graham and Alen Smailagic. The team will likely use their remaining cap space to fill out the roster.
Once it became clear that Kyrie Irving was signing with the Nets, it meant Russell, who had revived his career in Brooklyn and helped lead the Nets back to the playoffs, would be going elsewhere in the offseason as a restricted free agent.