Sportress of Blogitude

Steve Kerr praises D’Angelo Russell over handling of trade rumors

D’Angelo Russell’s first season with the Golden State Warriors has not gone as expected, not by a long shot, and head coach Steve Kerr has been left impressed with how the young guard has dealt with such a tumultuous few months.

Acquired this past offseason in the sign-and-trade that shipped Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, Russell has seen injuries to teammates pile up, including to Stephen Curry, as the Warriors have limped to an NBA-worst 5-21 record.

Making things even more difficult for the 23-year-old and former No. 2 pick, he has has long been the subject of persistent trade rumors, practically going back to even before his arrival with the Warriors was made official.

Russell, even with a four-year, $117 million deal, has nevertheless admitted this season has been frustrating. The way Russell has handled everything elicited an outpouring of praise from Kerr.

“Money doesn’t buy peace of mind, it doesn’t buy a sense of belonging, a sense of ‘okay, this is my team,’” Kerr said Friday. “If there’s speculation that you’re going to be traded all the time. I don’t care how much money you make — that’s tough, that’s no fun to deal with.

“This season has been nowhere close to what D’Angelo thought it would be when he first signed with us. No Steph. We’re struggling to win games, he’s had his own injuries. We’re throwing all sorts of lineups out there based on the other injuries we’ve faced … But this is the NBA and we never know what’s coming, what’s happening. It’s a difficult position to be in in general, but for him in particular — it’s a strange set of circumstances and he’s handling it really well.”

The prevailing sense around the NBA is that the Warriors are in no rush to trade Russell. That does not mean it won’t happen should the right deal come along.

Russell, meanwhile, recently insisted he doesn’t “waste energy worrying about” getting traded. That doesn’t change how things will ultimately play out, however.