D'Angelo Russell, 23, is the youngest established All-Star ever to switch teams via free agency.
But he isn’t arriving in Golden State amid the fanfare that’d typically accompany that distinction.
Getting Russell in a sign-and-trade with the Nets looked like a desperate move by the Warriors as they were losing Kevin Durant. The addition came with significant costs – Andre Iguodala, a first-rounder or two, a hard cap and $117,325,500 guaranteed over four years to Russell. Russell also looks like a strange fit in Golden State’s system with Stephen Curry already at point guard. The fit will get even trickier when Klay Thompson returns from injury.
Did the Warriors acquire Russell just to eventually trade him as an asset?
Russell, via Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“That’s the business of it. It is what it is,” Russell said. “You just put yourself in a position to go somewhere a long period of time. It may not be what it is and that’s the business. I’ve come to a realization of that, and I understand that. So every situation I’m in, I know the business side of it. We’ll see. I can’t predict it.”
Russell has already seen the business side of the NBA. The Lakers drafted him No. 2 overall and talked about building around him. Two years later, they replaced him with Lonzo Ball and traded Russell to Brooklyn while criticizing his leadership.
Considering Russell is going into this with sensible expectations, his time in Golden State should work for him. He’s getting paid max money. Whichever team that trades for him will value him and have a role for him.
Russell just must remember that as he acclimates to playing with Curry and eventually Thompson. It will get bumpy at times.
But this will probably work out for Russell in the long run – as odd as this arrangement is.