Despite failing to convince him to stay, the Golden State Warriors have managed to prevent losing Kevin Durant in the 2019 NBA free agency without getting anything valuable 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. However, since Russell’s arrival in Golden State, rumors have been circulating that the Warriors will consider trading him before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
D’Angelo Russell could somewhat fill the void Kevin Durant left on the offensive end of the floor, but with the presence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on the Warriors’ backcourt, most people believe that the former No. 2 overall pick is an odd fit in Golden State. However, from the time they officially signed him to a four-year, $117.3 million contract, Russell has been receiving strong support from the Warriors’ front office. According to Ethan Strauss of The Athletic, whether the people’s opinions are right or wrong, the Warriors have “invested” in Russell’s future in Golden State and consider him part of their long-term plan.
“There’s a strong possibility that the Warriors actually want their newest big acquisition for seasons beyond this one,” Strauss reported, as quoted by Bleacher Report. “Their front-office leaders, Joe Lacob and Bob Myers both, are as smitten with him as any team that just selected a top-five player in the draft.”
With Klay Thompson expected to miss most of the 2019-20 NBA season recovering from an injury, D’Angelo Russell is set to become Stephen Curry’s temporary backcourt partner. This will give the Warriors enough time to evaluate whether Russell really deserves to be part of their long-term future or if it will be best for them to use him as a trade chip to improve their roster before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. Though most people see Russell becoming an expensive sixth man once Thompson returns, Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr remains open to the possibility of keeping the former No. 2 overall pick in their starting lineup together with Curry and Thompson.
In an interview with HoopsHype, D’Angelo Russell compared the possible Warriors’ three-man backcourt rotation to a video game, saying that having three guys who could efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc will bring more excitement to their fans and a nightmare to their opposing teams.
“I think it’s like a video game,” Russell said. “You got three guys who can shoot the three at a high clip. I think that’s really exciting for the fans.”
D’Angelo Russell is aware of the rumors surrounding his future in Golden State but instead of being worried, he said that he feels excited for the opportunity to play for a team that has been to the NBA Finals in the last five years.