After failing to convince Kevin Durant to stay, the Golden State Warriors were able to find a way to prevent losing him as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return. In a sign-and-trade deal with the Brooklyn Nets, the Warriors acquired All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Durant. Russell may not be as good as Durant right now, but he could still somehow fill the hole he left on the offensive end of the floor.
However, despite inking a new contract with the Warriors, rumors still continue to swirl around Russell. With the presence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State’s backcourt, most people believe that Russell is an odd fit on the Warriors’ roster. As quoted by Bleacher Report, Marc Stein of The New York Times revealed that the Warriors will consider trading Russell, “it’s just a matter of when.”
“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.”
As of now, there is a growing belief around the league that the Warriors will start listening to offers for D’Angelo Russell once Klay Thompson recovers from an injury and he’s already eligible to be traded. According to Brad Botkin of CBS Sports, once Russell becomes officially available on the trade market, one of the NBA teams who could express strong interest in acquiring him is the Minnesota Timberwolves. Botkin suggested that the Timberwolves could explore a trade package centered on Robert Covington to acquire Russell from the Warriors.
“When the Warriors agreed to the sign-and-trade of Kevin Durant for Russell, they did so for two reasons. One, Russell is a good player. Two, he’s a tradeable player. The Warriors can’t move him until Dec. 15, but after that, anything can happen. The Wolves are a team to watch. We know they wanted Russell before he wound up with Golden State. A package centered on Robert Covington could go a long way in filling back out Golden State’s depleted perimeter defense.”
How D'Angelo Russell and Steph Curry could fit together in the Warriors backcourt. https://t.co/CSABCWDeqy— USA TODAY NBA (@usatodaynba) July 18, 2019
Before the Nets-Warriors sign-and-trade deal became official, the Timberwolves were among the top suitors for D’Angelo Russell on the free agency market. Since the 2018-19 NBA season officially came to an end, the face of the Timberwolves’ franchise, Karl-Anthony Towns, has been vocal of his desire to play alongside Russell in Minnesota. Towns may have failed to convince Russell to sign with the Timberwolves as an unrestricted free agent, but he’s expected to make a strong push to bring him to Minnesota once the Warriors put him on the trading block.
Russell may be an odd fit in Golden State, but he will be an incredible addition to teams like the Timberwolves who are in dire need of additional star power. Russell would be giving the Timberwolves an All-Star-caliber point guard who fits the timeline of Karl-Anthony Towns. Last season, Russell averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, and 1.2 steals and shot 43.4 percent from the field and 36.9 percent beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, in exchange for D’Angelo Russell, the Warriors would acquire a defensive-minded wingman in Robert Covington who is also a legitimate threat from beyond the arc. However, in order to further convince the Warriors to make a deal, the Timberwolves will likely need to add future draft picks in the trade package as sweeteners.