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Bob Myers says Golden State didn’t acquire D’Angelo Russell just to trade him

Bob Myers, D'Angelo Russell

Faced with the prospect of losing Kevin Durant for nothing, the cash-strapped Golden State Warriors agreed to sign and trade the two-time MVP to his preferred destination of the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for D’Angelo Russell. From the very beginning, Russell’s acquisition by the Warriors was considered an asset play more than anything else. They would have had no way to bring in a player approaching Durant’s salary otherwise, while Russell’s questionable fit in the backcourt with Steph Curry, and in Steve Kerr’s offensive attack at large, made it clear Golden State was simply making the best of a bad situation.

The obvious nature of that reality, though, hardly means the Warriors are beginning their partnership with Russell knowing it will be short-lived. General manager Bob Myers, in fact, addressed that possibility head on while chatting with reporters on Monday, insisting Golden State didn’t sign the 23-year-old just to move him down the line.

Russell enjoyed by far the best season of his four-year career in 2018-19, his second with the Nets after being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers in advance of the 2017 NBA Draft. He notched career-highs across the board of 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game while shooting 43.4 percent overall and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc on a high volume of attempts, en route to his first All-Star berth.

Russell signed a four-year, $117.3 million contract with Brooklyn that was contingent on his trade to Golden State. Expect the Warriors to have an open mind throughout the first couple months of the upcoming season, doing the best they can to help Russell flourish within the team concept, before seriously broaching the expected idea of trading him for a player or package of assets that more closely aligns with their short and long-term visions.