RUMOR: Warriors pulled trigger on blockbuster trade in part just to get rid of D’Angelo Russell
The Golden State Warriors’ 2019-20 season has been constantly hounded by speculation that their acquisition of D’Angelo Russell was purely a move to stockpile an asset for a future move. The franchise was adamant that this wasn’t the case at all but obviously wasn’t closing their doors when the right offer comes — and that opportunity apparently came knocking via the Minnesota Timberwolves.
However, according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, the 23-year-old has already worn out his welcome for the Warriors and they simply had to get rid of him. So much that they were willing to take one of the worst contracts in the league in Andrew Wiggins, although the thinly-protected first-rounder made it a lot easier to swallow.
“Take that as an indictment on Russell, if you want. It doesn’t seem like he did much to instill confidence. He didn’t play defense and disappeared when off the ball. He didn’t instill confidence in the leaders of the franchise that he would figure it out. But it should also be seen as a failure by the Warriors.”
“They championed him. They said they wanted him as part of their core. And before they even got to see him with their core, they walked away. Which means, at minimum, they completely miscalculated Russell’s fit. It’s early, and you never know how these things turn out. But the Russell experiment must have gone so poorly that the Warriors look like they might have been the ones to blink first in a negotiation with Minnesota.”
And while veterans’ Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green have yet to suit up and play with Russell in a fully healthy lineup, they have seen enough of the Brooklyn Nets All-Star to decide that his game just isn’t a good fit for Dubs basketball long term.
“Voices that matter in the locker room soured on Russell as a long-term fit rather quickly. He wasn’t a disruptive personality, just not a beneficial component to a winning defense or a correct fit positionally, considering the two soon-to-return star guards are franchise pillars. Russell didn’t work, but that doesn’t yet mean it didn’t work.”
The Warriors hope to restart their experiment with a fourth option with the disappointing Wiggins, hoping that a change of scenery and their winning culture would be able to unlock the former number one pick’s potential.