Golden State and Brooklyn have agreed on a sign-and-trade, sending D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors on a four-year, $117M maximum contract, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
Disclaimer: I am a Warriors fan and this trade came out of nowhere so I probably have some hidden bias behind my analysis. Anyways, here are my immediate thoughts:
It’s clearly not an ideal fit but I think it makes sense when you consider both the Warrior’s cap situation and the context of this season:
- The Warriors have historically played pretty mediocre whenever Steph is off the court. Here’s a piece from Tom Haberstroh illustrating this back in November.
- Theoretically you can do what Houston is doing and stagger Curry/Russell for most of the game, ensuring 48 minutes of good point guard play. Curry is also one of the best off ball players ever so offensively they should be able to fit together with Klay sliding to the 3 in their best lineups.
- Defensively there are definitely fit issues on top of losing Iguodala, who is one of their best defensive players. Maybe they’ll be able to make up for the difference offensively.
- Klay is out for most of the season so arguably Russell is extra valuable for this season if the Warriors are unwilling to take a “gap year” and instead want to make a playoff push.
- If the Warriors didn’t make this move they would in all likelihood continue to be capped out. Andre expires next season and could very well end up retiring/walking. Draymond also has 1 year remaining and will need to be resigned to a larger annual contract. By replacing KD’s “over the cap” salary with Russell, the Warriors have another trade chip to use after the 2019-20 season to acquire a significant player. It’ll be expensive as hell since they won’t get out of the repeater tax, but the Warriors probably don’t make this move without Lacob being okay with it.
- There is risk here that Russell regresses and it tanks his trade value next offseason. He broke out this past season, but might not be able to maintain that level of play. However, he is still young (23) and Curry/Thompson’s shooting and the Warriors’ system has been able to make more limited players look good.