Jared Dudley: D’Angelo Russell would’ve gone to Saudi Arabia for max contract

Dan Feldman

D'Angelo Russell‘s camp made fairly transparent attempts to drum up a market for him entering free agency. He was linked to several teams: Nets, Jazz, Magic, Timberwolves, Pacers, Suns, Lakers.

Not the Warriors.

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Yet, Russell ended up in Golden State in a double sign-and-trade for Kevin Durant. That sparked numerous question about fit:

How will Russell and Stephen Curry – both point guards – coexist offensively? Curry is excellent off the ball, but both he and Draymond Green deserve time initiating the offense. How comfortable will Russell be in that equation?

How will Russell or Curry handle defensive matchups? They’re both small guards who could face major problems against shooting guards.

How will the guard rotation look when Klay Thompson returns from injury? That’s a lot to balance. Can Thompson effectively defend small forwards for long stretches in three-guards lineups?

Do the Warriors just view Russell as a trade asset? They deny it, but it’s hard not to be suspicious. He might not be long for Golden State.

Why did Russell invite all this uncertainty?

Four years and $117,325,500.

Jared Dudley, who mentored Russell in Brooklyn (and since signed with the Lakers), via Ethan Strauss of The Athletic:

D’Angelo wanted to get the max. So I’m not surprised. He would’ve gone to, you know, Saudi Arabia, if he could have gotten the max there. I’m not surprised he took that.

I don’t need to explain the main appeal of a max contract. It’s a lot of money.

But there’s also a stature that comes with being a max player. Many desire that prestige. If Russell wanted that, good for him for getting it. He earned it with a strong season last year.

Russell has said he’s not fretting the possibility of the Warriors trading him. As long as understands the situation, he’ll be fine. Besides, any team he signed with this summer could’ve eventually traded him. That was a risk anywhere.

The beauty of a max contract: It’ll travel with him.

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