Despite informing everyone in the league that they have no intention of moving him before the February trade deadline, most people still don’t see All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell staying with the Golden State Warriors for the long term. Russell may be able to provide the star power the Warriors lost when Kevin Durant left last summer, but he may be an odd fit on the roster once guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson return from their injuries. Though he’s expected to spend the rest of the 2019-20 NBA season as a Warrior, the latest rumors suggest that the Warriors will use Russell as the main trade chip to acquire a superstar this summer.
In a recent Crossover podcast episode, Chris Mannix and Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated discussed the Warriors’ downfall and how they will find their way back to the top of the league. With Golden State currently holding the worst record in the Western Conference, they have a strong chance of getting the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. However, instead of adding another young and promising talent to their roster, Woo believes that the Warriors could use their own 2020 first-round selection and Russell to acquire a “close to max-level guy” next summer.
“I think to me, the scary scenario if I am the rest of league, is what if Golden State finds a suitable trade partner for that pick and flips it to get another star? They can find a way to make it work financially and attach D’Angelo Russell’s contract plus the pick and get a close to max-level guy that to me is what is frightening—the fact that they kind recharge their team that way more so than draft a rookie. I don’t think there is anyone in this draft that is going to put the Warriors over the top.”
Trading Russell and their 2020 first-round pick for an All-Star-caliber player that complements their core of Curry, Thompson, and Draymond Green could be the best move for Golden State in the coming offseason. If they add another superstar that could immediately fit in their system, it may not be surprising if the Warriors will be among the heavy favorites to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy once again.
In the past months, the Warriors have already been linked to several superstars who are expected to be available on the trade market this summer. These include Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.