D'Angelo Russell found himself in Golden State this season thanks to a four-year, $117 million deal offer as part of the sign-and-trade that sent Kevin Durant to Brooklyn. Of course, the Warriors weren't the only team vying for the All Star point guard's services and new details have now surfaced regarding which other teams were in the running.
According to a report by The Athletic's Anthony Slater, there were two other serious contenders for Russell, including the team that drafted him second overall in 2015, the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, Slater's report suggests the Lakers had a near $100 million deal on the table while they were pursuing Kawhi Leonard.
Russell spent June 30, the day free agency opened, in Los Angeles, where his agency is located. The market moved at warp speed. Before the bidding had officially opened, Irving and Durant had already given their pledge to Brooklyn. That took a return to the Nets off the table for Russell.
Russell only wanted serious bidders and, sources say, he had three: The Lakers — wouldn’t that have been quite the reunion? — nearing a potential $100 million offer but in limbo until Kawhi Leonard made his choice, the Wolves, up over $100 million but still needing to create cap room to get to his max, and the Warriors, offering the full max in a complicated sign-and-trade involving Durant.
Russell, 23, recently spoke about his decision to sign with the Warriors and explained that the opportunity to go somewhere warm "played a major part" in his plan. Says Russell, according to the Star Tribune's Christopher Hine:
“I thought the opportunity here [Minnesota] was amazing … It was definitely something I was considering very strongly. But then when this opportunity came, the weather is way better, so that helped me.”
“I did my first winter in New York and that was tough,” Russell added. “So to get the opportunity to go somewhere where it’s warm again, I think that played a major part in my plan.”
In 13 games this season, Russell is averaging 22 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 assists per game, although things haven't gone as planned for the injury-riddled Warriors, who currently hold the worst record in the West.