After a star turn with the Brooklyn Nets in his fourth NBA season, D’Angelo Russell will reportedly have a contract to match in one of the most stunning moves of a wild opening day of NBA free agency.
Golden State is trading Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies, league source tells ESPN. Warriors are sending a 2024 protected first-round pick in the 2024 (protected 1-4), 2025 (protected 1) and 2026 unprotected.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019
The Warriors received Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham in the deal and sent both players along with cash to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, according to ESPN.
A restricted free agent, Russell became expendable when the Nets reportedly agreed to a deal with Kyrie Irving.
How will Russell fit with Steph, Klay?
How Russell fits with the Warriors long-term is yet to be seen. Golden State already employs two of the best scoring guards in NBA history in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Russell’s specialty is scoring.
Thompson will miss a significant portion of next season with the ACL tear he suffered in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, but he is certainly a part of Golden State’s long-term future after reportedly agreeing to a 5-year, $190 million deal.
In the near-term, Russell will provide the ultimate luxury of spelling Thompson while he recovers from his injury.
Golden State has revolutionized how basketball is played once already and appears intent on doing it again in the long run.
Russell’s star turn
Russell broke out last season for his first All-Star bid while leading the Nets to their first playoff berth since 2015. After a tumultuous start to his career in Los Angeles, Russell hit his stride just in time to get the big deal.
The Lakers drafted Russell with the No. 2 pick out of Ohio State in 2015 as the presumed point guard of the future. But when he got involved in tabloid drama with a teammate and Lonzo Ball became available in the 2017 draft, his fate in Los Angeles was sealed.
Climb from rough NBA start
Prior to his breakout season, Russell was probably best known for allegedly recording Lakers teammate Nick Young in 2016 as he talked about women who weren’t his then-fiancée Iggy Azalea.
The recording made its way online, and the Lakers were reportedly displeased with Russell, who reportedly became an outcast in the locker room for the alleged breach of trust. Los Angeles eventually traded Russell prior to the 2017 draft that saw them select Ball.
Russell’s big jump
Russell averaged 15.5 points and 5.2 assists in his first season in Brooklyn, similar to the numbers he put up in two seasons with the Lakers. But this past season saw his averages jump to 21.1 points and seven assists to go with 1.2 steals per game while he shot a career-high 36.9 percent from 3-point distance.
Russell, 23, still raises maturity questions. In May, he was cited for marijuana possession after TSA agents at New York’s LaGuardia Airport say they found less than 50 grams hidden in a secret compartment of a fake Arizona Iced Tea can while Russell was going through a security check.
But he’s not gotten into any serious trouble, and his play has certainly earned him the reward of a big contract.
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