The Golden State Warriors acquired D'Angelo Russell on Sunday in a sign-and-trade deal that resulted in Kevin Durant relocating to Brooklyn to play for the Nets. It was then revealed Monday that the team was planning on turning around and dealing Russell elsewhere sooner rather than later, according to Marc Stein. If they were to do so, they would have to come to an agreement to send Russell elsewhere before the trade becomes official on July 6, otherwise they will be forced to wait until January.
Overall, it’s a smart move by Bob Myers and Co. up in the Bay Area. They expected to lose Durant for nothing, and instead got Russell in return, and can now auction him off to the highest bidder. Given he’s a 23-year-old point guard coming off his first All-Star game, the bidding should be quite competitive indeed.
Here are three potential teams that Golden State could come to a deal with for Russell’s services.
The Wolves had the best odds of landing Russell before the news broke he would be traded to Golden State, and they remain the best trade partner. They have a need at point guard and for another creator outside of franchise superstar Karl Anthony-Towns. Russell is a pure scorer who can space the floor and make plays for himself when the offense breaks down. Even better, he’s the same age as Towns, and they’re apparently pretty good friends.
Overall, Minnesota presents the best combination of fit, need, and timeline for Russell. The question is what they’d be forced to give up in exchange. They’d likely be willing to give up a heavily-protected first-round pick, but their biggest contracts they’d use to make the numbers work on a trade belong to Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng, who the Warriors probably wouldn’t have a lot of interest in. Still, Steve Kerr could see a reclamation project in Wiggins, who has never been short on potential.
The Heat have a lot of their own cap issues, and are currently in the middle of struggling to complete a sign-and-trade deal for Jimmy Butler. Even after they presumably get that sorted, they’ll still have a handful of decent players who are drastically overpaid- the perfect kind of player for the Warriors to take back in a Russell trade. Miami, meanwhile, should be willing to give up their average-at-best depth to give Butler an ideal back court partner who can take a chunk of the scoring load. It’s been a half-decade of treading water after the departure of LeBron James, and now that Dwyane Wade is gone, they may as well shoot for the stars.
Golden State likely wants to avoid any long-term financial commitments, but if the point of dealing Russell is to get several rotation players who aren’t totally useless when the minutes matter, Miami is an ideal partner.
The Mavs were rumored to be interested in Kemba Walker, but find themselves without a third wheel after the star point guard decided to sign with the Celtics. Russell would be a good fit as a scoring guard who can help space the floor and take the playmaking load off Luka Doncic and, more importantly, Kristaps Porzingis as he returns from his ACL tear.
The Mavericks have some decent pieces that the Warriors could be interested in; Tim Hardaway Jr. is expensive but can be relied upon to make shots, and the same can be said for Courtney Lee. Nabbing two decent rotation wings, albeit at a high price, would be the best possible outcome for Golden State after losing Durant and Thompson in the span of two games. Dallas, meanwhile, gets a point guard just coming into his own as the team works towards contention. It’s a natural fit for both teams.