When the Golden State Warriors struck a trade with the Brooklyn Nets for D’Angelo Russell, it appeared on the surface as a way to avoid losing Kevin Durant without anything in return. After all, the Warriors have a crowded backcourt already with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. While the deal was agreed to late Sunday night, it appears Russell may be on the move again soon.
“De’Angelo Russell does not fit there whatsoever. They just did not want to see Kevin Durant walk out the door with no compensation. … They will trade him. It’s just a matter of when.” Stein told Patrick, via Perloff on Twitter.
The news of the original trade came to light courtesy of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who revealed it also included a third team in the Memphis Grizzlies. Beyond that, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported a few additional pieces in Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier heading to the Warriors as well.
While the Warriors landed Russell, Graham and Napier, the Grizzlies received Andre Iguodala, three first-round picks (from Golden State) and the Nets added Kevin Durant via sign-and-trade.
The chatter around Golden State now considering trading Russell isn’t surprising in the slightest, and it appears there are going to be a few teams who could emerge as strong partners. With that said, let’s take a look at a few which jump out immediately.
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D’Angelo Russell Trade: Lakers, Raptors May Headline Fits
A number of teams could dive into the mix, but the Los Angeles Lakers have to be considered a strong option if they were to miss on Kawhi Leonard in free agency. Many seem to believe that the Lakers have a legitimate chance to sign Leonard, but if they do miss out, it means they’ve essentially watched every other top-tier free agent sign elsewhere.
The Lakers also had reported interest in Russell prior to the deal which sent him to the Warriors. If the team’s front office was set on either Leonard, Russell or Jimmy Butler, it means the options are beginning to get scarce at this point, but Russell could be had via trade.
Another team who could be in the mix is the Toronto Raptors, specifically if they lose Leonard to free agency. Toronto obviously will attempt to avoid being left empty-handed should the forward sign elsewhere this offseason. We know Raptors president Masai Ujiri has no problem swinging for the fences with trades as well, making a potential pairing with Russell a unique fit.
Clippers & Knicks Options for D’Angelo Russell?
The situation with the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks took an interesting turn early in free agency and would grab even more attention depending on Leonard’s situation. The Clippers may still be in the running for Leonard, but the Knicks appear to have embraced heading in a different direction.
After the Clippers re-signed Patrick Beverley, they could still acquire Russell but it would make it a bit more unlikely. Regardless, the Clippers could be an intriguing fit for him and a situation where he could thrive with a team on the rise.
As for the Knicks, they are the lowest on the list due to the fact that they appear to have moved on from being laser-focused on adding a star this offseason. This comes after the team missed on Durant and Kyrie Irving, their expected top targets. In the early stages of free agency, they’ve signed Julius Randle and Bobby Portis to decent-sized contracts.
Time will tell, but if Russell is really set to be moved, it’s likely there will be a number of suitors who jump into the mix.