Back in February 2020, the Golden State Warriors swung a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves that flipped D’Angelo Russell for wing Andrew Wiggins. At the time, many pegged Minnesota as the clear-cut winners in the deal. The team acquired what looked to be a lead-guard on the heels of his first All-Star berth in exchange for a player in Wiggins who had evidently overstayed his welcome. The former No. 1 pick was averaging 22.4 points per game with the T’Wolves at the time but had been wildly inconsistent on both the offensive and defensive end of the court and had what many executives considered the worst contract in basketball, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Nevertheless, the Warriors and team owner Joe Lacob were elated with the move. Fast forward to current day, and Lacob is even more thrilled with how things panned out. So much so that he’s willing to put the Wiggins deal up there with the greatest in team history.
“I thought it was one of the greatest deals, certainly maybe the greatest deal we’ve ever done and one of the best I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Lacob told The Athletic’s . “I thought it was a killer deal. I thought Bob (Myers) did an amazing job. I don’t even know how to put it strong enough. How you can convert a good player into another, let’s call him an equal player, whatever you want to decide (Wiggins for Russell). We think a better fit for us. And what could have been an even higher lottery pick.”
Wiggins Deal Set Up Warriors ‘for the Future’
While he remains a trendy name in trade circles to this day, Wiggins has slid in nicely as a complementary piece for a Golden State team sitting atop the Western Conference. His field goal percentage is currently at a career-high (47.8%), while his improved defensive efforts have been a driving force for a unit that leads the NBA in defensive efficiency (0.969). With that said, Wiggins wasn’t the only positive the Warriors came out of the D-Lo deal with.
“We wound up with the seventh pick in the draft. … I think we were elated with that trade. I think it will set us up for the future tremendously well. I think Bob honestly right now looks like the executive of the year,” Lacob proclaimed.
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The Trade that Keeps on Giving
To jog your memory, the Warriors dealt not only Russell but also big man Omari Spellman and guard Jacob Evans. As
Beyond that, the Warriors also received a protected 2021 first-round pick, as well as a 2021 second-round selection — which was dealt to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the since-departed Kelly Oubre. The first-round pick, however, turned out to be Jonathan Kuminga, a highly promising 19-year-old prospect that flashed his upside in Golden State’s statement win over the Brooklyn Nets on November 16th.
While Russell may remain the most lethal scorer of all the players involved in the trade, the Warriors were able to swap out Russell’s scoring prowess for Wiggins, who has proven to be a better fit alongside stars Steph Curry and (eventually) Klay Thompson. Add in a high-upside player like Kuminga and it’s easy to see why Lacob is still gushing over a deal nearly two years in the past — mainly because of the positive repercussions it will have on the future.