In one of the more shocking moments of NBA free agency this summer, the Golden State Warriors announced at the start of this month that they had agreed to acquire guard D’Angelo Russell. Russell was a restricted free agent, and his move to the Warriors was eventually structured as a sign-and-trade deal, with Kevin Durant heading to Russell’s former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Russell agreed to a contract for four years and $117 million.
Many around the league scratched their heads about the trade. Russell, a scoring point guard, is a similar player to Warriors guard Steph Curry, and while Russell will likely start in the backcourt alongside Curry while guard Klay Thompson is injured, it’s unclear exactly how the team could juggle all three players in the same lineup once Thompson returns.
This has led to speculation, per The Inquisitr, that Russell could be traded to the New York Knicks — or even another team. But the Warriors’ GM, Bob Myers, said in an interview this week that the Warriors did not sign Russell in order to trade him.
Per Amico Hoops, Myers has addressed the rumors while speaking to the press.
“We didn’t sign him with the intention of just trading him,” Myers said this week. “We haven’t even seen him play in our uniform yet, and a lot of people have us already trading him. That’s not how we’re viewing it. Let’s just see what we have. Let’s see what he is. Let’s see how he fits.”
The general manager went on to praise Russell as “a young player that has a lot of upside.” Acquiring him meant trading Andre Iguodala to Memphis in order to free up salary cap space, as well as releasing Shaun Livingston.
The Warriors are expected to enter next season with a very different look, and will enter a season — for the first time in years — not favored in the Western Conference.
Per ESPN.com’s depth chart, the Warriors will start the season with a starting backcourt of Curry and Russell, with Alfonzo McKinnie likely to start at small forward. Draymond Green, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney are the team’s top frontcourt players. Following his knee injury in the NBA Finals, Thompson is expected to be out until sometime in the second half of the season.
The Warriors have lost several players — Durant, Iguodala, Livingston, DeMarcus Cousins, Jordan Bell, Quinn Cook, and Damian Jones — from the roster that played in the NBA Finals just over a months ago.