The Golden State Warriors officially announced the acquisition of All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell, along with guard Shabazz Napier and forward Treveon Graham, in a sign-and-trade transaction that sent free agent forward Kevin Durant and a protected first-round draft pick to the Brooklyn Nets.
“We’re excited to add a player of D’Angelo’s ability to our roster,” Warriors President of Basketball Operations and general manager Bob Myers said in a statement. “We feel, at the age of 23, his best basketball is certainly ahead of him in regards to his career trajectory. And, as Joe [Lacob] said earlier this week, we’re thankful to Kevin for the incredible things he did for our team and franchise during his three years with the Warriors. We wish him the best moving forward.”
Golden State has not yet announced the trade of Napier and Graham to Minnesota, but are expected to as personnel moves become official. The Warriors did not release details of the money involved, but it’s been widely reported that Russell signed a four-year, $117 million max deal.
Russell, 23, owns career averages of 16.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.16 steals and 28.5 minutes in 272 games (224 starts) over four seasons with Brooklyn and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Warriors needed another scorer with the injury to Klay Thompson, who will be out until at least December with a torn ACL. Russell, along with yet-to-be-announced center Willie Cauley-Stein, is a highly-skilled playmaker and a pick-and-roll specialist, which will test the adaptability of head coach Steve Kerr, who runs a motion-based, pass-happy offense that ranked last in the NBA last season in pick-and-roll frequency.
Golden State could try to develop Russell into a building block, or keep him only until Thompson returns. Given his youth and scoring ability, Russell would be an enticing trade chip at the deadline. Because of the sign-and-trade, he’d be eligible to be dealt after Dec. 15.
After acquiring Russell — the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft — from the Lakers two seasons ago, the Nets built around the 6-foot-5 guard, and this season, he made his first All-Star appearance and helped lead the Nets to the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season. He averaged a career-high 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.23 steals and 30.2 minutes in 81 games (all starts).
In five postseason games, Russell averaged 19.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.40 steals in 29.6 minutes.