All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell and his future with the Golden State Warriors has been the subject of various trade rumors in the past months. Russell may be able to fill the hole left by Kevin Durant on the offensive end of the floor, but with the presence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in the Warriors’ backcourt, he’s clearly an odd fit on their roster. As of now, most people see Russell as one of the players who will be moved before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.
During a Q&A session at Reddit, Mark Medina of USA Today Sports said that it’s still too early to take the rumors surrounding Russell seriously. However, Medina believes that if the Warriors continue to struggle and find themselves out of the playoff race, there’s a strong possibility they would consider trading Russell.
“It depends on how this season plays out. If the Warriors are still in the playoff hunt, they are better riding that out and then evaluating options in the summer. Plus, D-Lo’s value could be higher after having a productive season in Golden State. If it becomes clear they are a lottery team, the Warriors should extract as much value from a D-Lo trade as much as they can. The Warriors aren’t thinking that way yet. The season is way too early.”
Zach Frydenlund of Complex recently created a list of potential trade scenarios involving Russell. In the proposed trade deal that would send him to South Beach, Frydenlund suggested that the Miami Heat could offer a trade package including Justise Winslow, James Johnson, and a 2024 first-round pick to the Warriors in exchange for Russell. Though the deal works financially, the Warriors and the Heat would still need to wait until mid-December to make the deal since Russell just signed a new contract in free agency.
However, if the deal becomes a reality, it would be beneficial for both the Warriors and the Heat. The suggested trade would enable the Heat to add an All-Star-caliber talent alongside Jimmy Butler. The arrival of Butler has undeniably boosted the Heat’s performance on both ends of the floor. However, in order to have a better chance of contending for the NBA championship, Miami still needs another superstar who could help Butler carry the team.
Russell would give the Heat a very reliable scoring option next to Butler. As Frydenlund noted, the Russell and Butler duo “could be deadly.” With Goran Dragic accepting a backup role, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra wouldn’t have a problem giving the starting role to Russell.
Meanwhile, in exchange for Russell, the Warriors would receive a defensive-minded wingman in Justise Winslow who could fill the hole left by Andre Iguodala and Kevin Durant. The future draft pick would allow them to add another young and promising talent, or they could use it as a trade chip in another deal. Johnson may just be a salary cap filler, but he could also provide a veteran presence on the Warriors’ bench.