After a failed three-peat, the Golden State Warriors took another huge blow in the 2019 NBA free agency when they lost All-Star forward Kevin Durant. Despite strong efforts from the Warriors to convince him to stay, Durant still ended up leaving Golden State to team up with Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan on the Brooklyn Nets. Luckily, the Warriors didn’t lose Durant as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything valuable in return.
In a sign-and-trade deal with the Nets, the Warriors managed to acquire All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Kevin Durant. However, though he’s yet to play a single game as a Warrior, there is already a huge question regarding Russell’s fit on Golden State’s roster. Earlier in July, Marc Stein of The New York Times, as quoted by Bleacher Report, revealed that the Warriors will consider trading Russell.
“It’s just a matter of when,” Stein said.
D’Angelo Russell would undeniably fill the hole Kevin Durant left on the offensive end of the floor, but with the presence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the Warriors’ backcourt, keeping the 23-year-old point guard doesn’t make much sense for Golden State. According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Warriors may consider trading Russell to a point guard-needy team like the Orlando Magic before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
“Plenty of teams could use Russell’s scoring and playmaking, especially since he’s only 23 and is under contract for the next four seasons. Orlando is heavy at power forward and center and needs some thunder in its backcourt to make any noise in the playoffs. Markelle Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick, was brought in at the 2019 trade deadline from the Philadelphia 76ers, although he didn’t play a game while rehabbing from thoracic outlet syndrome. With Fultz’s availability and overall skill set still in the air, the Magic could use a sure thing in Russell to orchestrate their offense.”
D’Angelo Russell Stars in Bloomingdale’s Mix Masters Fall Campaign https://t.co/8I2ucmLkXq— The Source Magazine (@TheSource) September 6, 2019
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Warriors would be sending D’Angelo Russell to the Magic in exchange for Aaron Gordon and Mo Bamba. Since Russell just signed a new contract in the 2019 NBA free agency, both teams would need to wait until mid-December to make the deal. If the trade becomes a reality, it will help both teams in filling the needs to improve their roster.
In exchange for D’Angelo Russell, the Warriors would be acquiring another young and promising talent in Aaron Gordon who could immediately address the issue in their wing. Gordon could play the small forward and the power forward positions and his ability to efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc makes him a perfect fit in the Warriors’ system. Last season, Gordon averaged 16.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.7 assists while shooting 44.9 percent from the field, and 34.9 percent from the three-point range.
With the improvements he made last season, it would definitely be intriguing to see D’Angelo Russell playing for a legitimate title contender. However, sharing the court with a ball-dominant superstar like Stephen Curry may slow down Russell’s development into a legitimate superstar in the league. As of now, it may be best for Russell to be on a team like the Magic that could assure him a permanent spot in the starting lineup and a significant role on the offensive end of the floor.