Since the sign-and-trade deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, rumors have been continuously swirling around All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell and his future with the Golden State Warriors. With the emergence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State’s backcourt, most people are expecting the Warriors to move Russell before the February trade deadline. On Sunday, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN discussed Golden State’s plan for their newly acquired guard.
Wojnarowski believes that the Warriors are unlikely to ship Russell during the 2019-20 NBA season as they may first want to see who will be getting the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft.
“If you are going to move D’Angelo Russell, it is in a big deal,” Wojnarowski said, as quoted by Yahoo Sports. “To me, a scenario where he could move is (with) that number one pick. The Warriors could have the No. 1 overall pick — you got to see where it is. He’s not available, (but) that would be like a Bradley Beal level player. You’re (the Wizards) getting a potential cornerstone pick and a 23-year-old All-Star. I think there are very few scenarios in the league where that’s available to them (the Warriors). It doesn’t make much sense for Golden State to be out there canvassing the league.”
Lowe echoed the same sentiment as Wojnarowski, saying that there’s no need for Golden State to rush moving Russell. With Golden State not expected to contend for the NBA championship in the 2019-20 season, they will have the luxury to wait for the summer of 2020 to explore the trade market for the star guard. Also, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr should have more time to evaluate whether he is really an odd fit on their roster or if they could utilize a three-guard lineup featuring him, Curry, and Thompson.
The outcome of the 2019-20 season will be vital for the Warriors’ plan for Russell. Several teams who would fall short of achieving their main goal or go through a disappointing year could result in an unhappy superstar whom Golden State could target in the 2020 offseason. As of now, one of the big names the team is closely monitoring is Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
If the Bucks fail to at least reach the Finals this season, there is a possibility for Antetokounmpo to follow the footsteps of other superstars and start finding his way out of Milwaukee. Once a player of his caliber becomes available on the trade market, it would likely be a good idea for the Warriors to move Russell, together with their own first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Adding Antetokounmpo to the core of Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green would undeniably give Golden State a strong chance of fully dominating the loaded Western Conference and winning another league championship.