Russell ready to run with Warriors; prepared for trade
Field Level Mediaon
D'Angelo Russell was excited to learn he would be running with the Golden State Warriors.
But the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft also is preparing for the potential reality of a fourth team in five pro seasons if the Warriors decide to flip the 2019 All-Star in a trade.
"That's the business of it," Russell said of his long-term prospects with the Warriors. "It is what it is. You put yourself in a position to go somewhere for a long period of time, and it may not be what it is a year later. And that's the business. I've come to a realization of that, and I understand that, so whatever situation I'm in, I know the business side of it, so we'll just see. I can't predict it."
Russell, 23, was acquired by the Brooklyn Nets from the Los Angeles Lakers in June 2017 and developed into a lead guard, earning an All-Star selection in February as he entered restricted free agency. Russell averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists for the Nets last season.
But as dominoes began to fall on the final days of June -- Kyrie Irving committed to Brooklyn, then Kevin Durant joined along with DeAndre Jordan -- there weren't enough dollars to keep Russell.
The Nets signed him to a max deal worth $117 million over four seasons, then completed the trade with the Warriors.
"I knew it was something that could possibly be true. And we had to wait 'til a few other pieces kind of did what it did, and then it kind of came to the light," Russell said.
How long Russell will be in the Bay Area is difficult to predict. Speculation centered around the return of injured star Klay Thompson (torn ACL) in February or March sparked talk of the Warriors unloading Russell at the 2020 trade deadline. Russell is content to ride the wave and embrace the chance to play with the Western Conference champions.
"Honestly, I'm excited," Russell said. "I'm excited more than anything. I think it's a huge opportunity just to take another step and learn from a good group of guys that have done -- and marked their way in this league, so I'm super excited."