One of the Golden State Warriors’ worst nightmares happened in the 2019 NBA offseason when Kevin Durant decided to leave in free agency. Luckily for the Warriors, they didn’t lose Durant without getting anything in return. In a sign-and-trade deal with the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors ended up acquiring All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Durant.
D’Angelo Russell may not be on the level of Kevin Durant right now, but he could still somehow fill the void he left on the offensive end of the floor. However, with the emergence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State’s backcourt, Russell’s stint with the Warriors may not last long. As quoted by Bleacher Report, Marc Stein of the New York Times revealed that the Warriors will consider trading Russell when Thompson recovers from an injury.
“D’Angelo Russell doesn’t fit there whatsoever,” Stein said. “They just wanted to make sure they did not see Kevin Durant, arguably the best player in the league when healthy, walk out the door for nothing.”
Once D’Angelo Russell becomes officially available on the trading block, several NBA teams are expected to express strong interest in adding him to their roster, including the New York Knicks. In his recent article, Andy Bailey of Bleacher Report said that the deal that would send Russell to New York could save a “free-agency loser” like the Knicks.
Talked to league people in Vegas on where the NBA is going https://t.co/XMLJQbaER1
— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) July 14, 2019
The Knicks headed into the summer of 2019 believing that they could acquire multiple superstars on the trade and free agency markets. Unfortunately, despite having the trade assets and salary cap space, the Knicks were unable to land any big names this summer. After failing to get their top targets, the Knicks purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2020.
However, after what happened in the 2019 NBA offseason, Bailey believes that it’s time for the Knicks to “switch up their strategy” and consider targeting a star who’s already signed long-term like D’Angelo Russell.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Knicks would be sending Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock, and a future first-round pick to the Warriors in exchange for Russell. If the trade becomes a reality, it would not only be beneficial for the Knicks, but also for the Warriors.
The Warriors may be losing an All-Star for two role players in the potential deal, but Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock could end up being better fits to Golden State than D’Angelo Russell.
“Neither is as individually good as Russell, but they would give Golden State two bigger, multipositional bodies who can switch on defense and hit threes on the other end,” Bailey said. “With Curry under contract — and Thompson, when he’s healthy — Russell’s offense may not be critical for the Warriors later in the year. Depth and size at the wing/forward spots could be more important.”
Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock would give the Warriors two defensive-minded wingmen who can knock down shots from beyond the arc. Morris and Bullock won’t be financial burdens for the Warriors, as their contracts are set to expire after the 2019-20 NBA season.