In an NBA-rich off season, perhaps the most surprising move was not related to the highest profile.
One day when the Brooklyn Nets reached an agreement with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Golden State Warriors stunned the NBA by trading with Nets for All Star goaltender D'Angelo Russell.
With the Warriors already arguably the largest backyard in NBA history, there are obvious questions. Where does another goalkeeper score in Golden State?
Is there a long-term adjustment for D'Angelo Russell?
The short-term answer is clear. Klay Thompson will miss most of next season after the ACL tear that he had in Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Russell will join nicely alongside Stephen Curry as Golden State enters a new era of basketball in the Bay Area.
But when Thompson finally returns, the Warriors will have three All-Star players on big long-term contracts. There will be two starting positions in the backcourt of the Golden State.
Something must seemingly give, and most think it will be Russell, with speculation that Golden State intends to eventually use the 23-year-old guard as a chip over the entire line.
Do not trade in Russell yet
General Manager Bob Myers paused Monday afternoon.
"I know it was written and speculated, and that's fine. That's what everyone needs to do, "said Myers. "We did not sign it with the intention of negotiating it. We have not even seen him play in our uniform yet and a lot of people are exchanging it.
"That's not how we see it. Let's see what we have. Let's see what he is. Let's see how he's doing. "
This last part is essential – the part "Let's see what we have".
The warriors jumped at an opportunity
The Warriors made the decision because they saw a chance to improve their team. The lanes allowing Golden State to get into free agent play while rivals added players like Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook were slim.
They saw a chance to improve by adding an ascending All-Star and reached a creative agreement to this effect. The fact that this may seem strange for the long-term construction of their list is a minor concern. Fortune favors the bold in the NBA, and Golden State has refused to hold on.
Golden State revolutionized the game before
It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the Warriors' position at the same time next year in a constantly changing NBA. But they have already revolutionized the way basketball is played in the NBA. We do not want Golden State to be the team to play three-guard training in a game that is becoming increasingly positionless.
If this ends up being the case, the long-term implications for Golden State become clearer. Curry is 31 years old. Russell is 23 years old. If the Warriors can prepare Russell for Curry's success, it's even better. This is the long-term benefit of the Russell deal for Golden State.
Maybe it will not work
The disadvantage is that it will not work. Although today's NBAs are as valuable as goalkeepers, it's too much, it's too much – the big-ticket will be too difficult to overcome.
And if that ends up being the case, then all is well. Golden State can then do what many are now speculating: send Russell to another team as part of a contract to fill a more obvious need for training.
But for now, we have no idea what Russell will look like in Golden State. And for that reason, we agree with Myers. Let's see what it looks like before sending an exciting young player who has just joined a list of champions.
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