The NBA season officially began last Tuesday and has lived up to the hype so far. We see teams such as the Suns and Timberwolves exceeding expectations so far while plenty of teams have been extremely disappointing to start the season.
The biggest disappointment of the season so far has been the Golden State Warriors. Coming into the season, even without Klay Thompson, many people had expected the Warriors to be a 50-win team, but they haven’t looked anything like a team poised to make a deep playoff run.
After starting the season 0-2 with blowout losses to the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, many fans are in panic mode.
If the Warriors are planning to make a trade, the only player that I would see the Warriors putting on the trading block is D’Angelo Russell.
Russell is coming off a career year where he averaged 21.1 points and 7 assists on 43.4 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent shooting from three but he has been pedestrian so far this season, only putting up 13 points on 34.6 percent shooting from the field and the fit with him and Stephan Curry hasn’t looked good so far.
Looking throughout the NBA, one team that could potentially make a strong push for Russell is the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are a team that is expected to contend for a championship and acquiring a player like Russell could be one that puts them over the hump.
A potential Golden State – Denver trade would be Gary Harris, Michael Porter Jr., Juancho Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt, and a future first-round pick in exchange for D’Angelo Russell and Alec Burks.
For the Warriors, getting Gary Harris would pair Stephen Curry alongside a defensive-minded guard and Harris is 25 years old, so he is just entering his prime. Michael Porter Jr., Jarred Vanderbilt, and Juancho Hernangomez have all registered DNPs through the Nuggets’ first two games and it is obvious the Nuggets are prioritizing winning over youth development.
These players would provide the Warriors with youth, shooting, defense and depth and you would hope that Michael Porter Jr. can develop and become the highly touted player he was hyped up to be during his high school and college days.
For the Nuggets, Russell would be an ideal pickup for this team. A backcourt of Russell and Jamal Murray could be questionable defensively but would be scary offensively.
D’Angelo would provide the team with scoring and playmaking and a Big-3 of Russell, Murray, and Jokic would be a scary one now, and in the future as all three of these players are 24 or younger, and Russell and Jokic are under contract until 2023 while Murray is under contract until 2025.
D’Angelo Russell cannot be traded until mid-January so obviously the Warriors could look a lot better by then but, if these first two games are an indication of what the future holds for them, it does not look pretty. Trading Russell would be putting the nail in the coffin on the season and while the Warriors are a team not known to tank, this move should be something that they should still pursue.
With Klay Thompson unlikely to come back this season, getting a plethora of young players and getting Klay healthy would put you in prime position to have success next season. This trade also looks to be low risk as if the players acquired cannot provide much for you, you could then flip them for veteran players that could help you win now.