Did D’Angelo Russell wear out his welcome with Warriors?
Some have made the case that the Golden State Warriors came out on the short end of the trade-deadline deal that shipped D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Did Russell’s apparent failure to fit in on the team serve as an impetus to the trade?
The Warriors received former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, a top-three protected first-round pick (which will become unprotected in 2022) and a 2021 second-round pick in the trade, with the Timberwolves also receiving Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman in the deal.
Time will tell which team ultimately benefits most from the trade, and it’s possible both the Warriors and the T-Wolves will come out as “winners.” With the dust still settling, though, there’s word that Russell quickly wore out his welcome with the Warriors and that compelled the team to make the deal.
In a breakdown of the Warriors-Wolves trade from The Athletic, Marcus Thompson II lays out how Golden State “completely miscalculated Russell’s fit” on the team and “might have been the ones to blink first in a negotiation with Minnesota.”
It has long been believed that the Warriors would ultimately flip Russell to acquire more assets. This notion was reinforced by the suspicion that Russell would not mesh well on the court with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson upon their return.
“Voices that matter in the locker room soured on Russell as a long-term fit rather quickly,” Thompson writes. “He wasn’t a disruptive personality, just not a beneficial component to a winning defense or a correct fit positionally, considering the two soon-to-return star guards are franchise pillars. Russell didn’t work, but that doesn’t yet mean it didn’t work.”
As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and first-year Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas landed the player he has long coveted. Perhaps most importantly, the guard’s arrival should please clearly disgruntled star Karl-Anthony Towns, who is great friends with Russell.
All initial signs indicate that is indeed the case.
KAT has his.— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 7, 2020
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pic.twitter.com/8vqpq10Jxq— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 7, 2020
The Warriors, meanwhile, are left to ponder whether what they received in exchange for Russell will justify acquiring the star in the first place.