SportKevin Durant 'balked' at idea of Warriors trading him only for D'Angelo Russell, report says
D'Angelo Russell free agency rumors: Warriors unexpectedly acquire guard in sign-and-trade with Nets
The Nets preferred not to partner Russell with Kyrie Irving, so this agreement is ideal for them. The Warriors' Klay Thompson will likely miss a majority of 2019-20 recovering from an ACL injury he suffered in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, so Russell could provide valuable production for Golden State's backcourt in Thompson's absence. Russell had a career year and made the All-Star team with Brooklyn in 2019-20. He averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists in 81 games in 2018-19.
Kevin Durant likely won't play in 2019-20, but he's still contributing to the Nets' future.
The Warriors sent the now-Nets superstar to Brooklyn as part of a sign-and-trade for D'Angelo Russell this summer. While the deal was initially meant to be a one-for-one exchange, Durant was against the idea of such an "unfair" trade and pressured Golden State to part with a protected future first-round pick as well, according to a report from's Brian Windhorst, which cited unidentified league sources.
"First, Durant initially balked at being traded for Russell straight up, multiple sources said. He didn't think it was a fair deal, and in this case, the Warriors had to not just satisfy the Nets, but also Durant."
Warriors trade rumors: Golden State sends Andre Iguodala to Grizzlies, clears cap space for D'Angelo Russell
Golden State will also send Memphis a 2024 first-round pick, which will be unprotected if it’s not conveyed by 2026, according to ESPN.
"Leverage was applied by the player, and Golden State had to include a first-round pick before Durant would agree to sign off. The Warriors begrudgingly gave it up and did so with a heavy condition: If the pick falls within the top 20 next year, they don't have to send it, and instead will only give Brooklyn a second-round pick ... in six years. It's one of the most unusual pick protections the NBA has seen recently."
Durant has since inked a four-year, $164 million deal with the Nets and has a player option in 2022-23. He will join his close friend in star point guard Kyrie Irving, who also signed a four-year max deal with Brooklyn this offseason.
While Durant's recovery from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in Game 5 of this year's NBA Finals will delay his return to the court, the Nets have a talented young core featuring the likes of Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen to work with in his absence.
Warriors trade rumors: Golden State hoping to deal D'Angelo Russell at some point next season
The Warriors “hope to trade Russell in a deal at some point next season for future assets,” according to the Mercury News. Golden State acquired the 23-year-old guard from the Nets in a sign-and-trade Sunday, according to multiple reports. Russell is set to sign a four-year, $117 million contract with the Warriors, according to ESPN. Golden State and Brooklyn have agreed on a sign-and-trade, sending D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors on a four-year, $117M maximum contract, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2019 Russell had a career-year for the Nets last season, averaging 21.
If the pick Golden State included in Durant's sign-and-trade is outside the top 20, it could become a quality asset or building block for Brooklyn down the road.
The Warriors will look noticeably different next year, as star guard Klay Thompson is expected to miss most of 2019-20 rehabbing a torn ACL. They'll have to hope Russell becomes a serviceable replacement in the meantime, especially given his hefty three-year, $117 million contract.
Kevin Durant chose Nets because he loves their 'system,' GM says.
In Sean Marks' first conversation with Durant, the star said: "I love the system. I love how you guys play. I see how hard you guys."