Everybody’s been talking about how the Golden State Warriors dynasty may have come to an end after they lost in the NBA Finals against Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors a couple of weeks ago.
Thing is, the Warriors not only lost the Championship, but also Kevin Durant, and DeMarcus Cousins, while Klay Thompson is going to be out until late February nursing an Achilles injury of his own.
All those signs point towards the Warriors having quite a tough time to stay relevant in the Western Conference picture, but at least, Durant was kind enough to give them a last gift by performing a sign-and-trade with them instead of just walking away.
That way, the Warriors were able to snatch D’Angelo Russell, a somewhat odd fit that could really boost this team’s chances to continue pursuing a Championship in the foreseeable future next to Stephen Curry.
However, while most people actually wondered if Russell and Curry could coexist and hold the fort while Klay Thompson is able to make a comeback from his injury, there have been some reports pointing towards the Warriors having a different plan for him.
Apparently, the Warriors signed Russell as an insurance policy, as they view him as a great player but value him more as a trade asset rather than an actual part of Steve Kerr’s project going forward.
Naturally, there should be plenty of interest on a young surging player like D’Angelo Russell, who is just 22 years old and coming off a breakout year with averages of 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game.
Also, him being on a $117 million contract at such a tender age, more than a team would be willing to take a risk on him and trade for an All-Star with superstar upside, so that approach would make a lot of sense for the Warriors.
But, what if Golden State actually wants to keep on winning and competing right now? Is the Russell – Curry experiment going to work out or will it be the second coming of the Monta Ellis – Stephen Curry backcourt?
As a matter of fact, there’s a way the Warriors could stay ready for playoff contention and Russell could be the face of a franchise, and that would be trading him right away for Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook has once again been left alone on an island at Oklahoma now that Sam Presti traded away Paul George for a bunch of first-round picks, so he’s likely to be moved at some point anyway.
The Westbrook – Curry fit would be somewhat odd as well, but Curry’s a great off-ball scorer that could thrive off Russ’ drives and they could really coexist once Klay Thompson comes back on the court.
Obviously, Westbrook isn’t the floor spacer and three-point-shooting threat Kevin Durant is, but he’s the kind of rough, fierce competitor Draymond Green would love to have on his team, and he’s also a great hustler and pesky defender.
There’s no telling how this would pan out but Westbrook is used to sharing the floor with top-tier players like them, and perhaps Paul George’s departure would be a sort of a wake-up call for the All-Star.
Westbrook is one of the most talented players in the world and contrary to what his haters may tell you, he’s capable of making a team better, but he needs to embrace a different role on the team he’s headed.
As for Russell, the Oklahoma City Thunder would have a lot of first-round picks to build around him and they’ve proven to be great when it comes to scouting talent, so they could be back in Championship contention in no time.
There are a lot of ‘If’s here, but we think the Warriors would be a much better landing spot for Westbrook than the Miami Heat or Detroit Pistons, two of the teams that were reportedly quite interested in his services.
At the end of the day, all Westbrook wants to do is win and we can expect another monster season from him now to prove his doubters wrong, and there’s definitely no better scenario than the brand new Chase Center in San Francisco next to the Warriors’ Big 3.