Over the past decade, the Golden State Warriors have had a tremendous amount of success. They’ve won four NBA Championships, been to six NBA Finals, and have missed the playoffs just twice.
Golden State’s sustained success can — in part — be chalked up to the tremendous work of the longtime GM Bob Myers and the rest of the front office. Myers and company made careful calculated decisions for years to ensure that the Dubs would consistently be amongst the league’s best and competing for championships. Under the two-time NBA Executive of the Year’s watch, Golden State hired head coach Steve Kerr and signed Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, and Sean Livingston.
Though the majority of Myers’ moves were great, there were a few that didn’t pan out so well. Throughout the years, there were some decisions that were costly and others that were flipped into more positive moves. Nonetheless, Myers wasn’t perfect and made his fair share of mistakes.
8. Golden State Warriors add D’Angelo Russell in 2019
2019 was a strange year for the Golden State Warriors. They entered as title favorites, later came up short in the NBA Finals — thanks to injuries to Durant and Klay Thompson — and then ended the calendar year with a record of 9-26 to start the 2019-20 season.
What changed? Well, for starters, Durant left in free agency to team up with Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets. The two-time Finals MVP was a huge loss for the Dubs, but they didn’t lose him for nothing. Instead, they arranged a sign-and-trade where they received breakout guard D’Angelo Russell, who was coming off of his first-and-only All-Star selection.
Russell signed a four-year, $117 million contract as part of the move, making it so Golden State didn’t lose the pay slot in which they paid Durant.
The former Ohio State guard’s fit with the Warriors was always going to be a bit strange, with Stephen Curry playing the same position. Unfortunately for the Dubs, Curry hurt himself, and Russell was left with more responsibility than he’d signed up for.
In 33 career games for the Warriors, Russell averaged 23.6 points, 6.2 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game. His shooting splits were average at 43.0% from the field and 37.4% from beyond the arc. He was fine, but ultimately was never going to have a concrete role with Golden State, due to their star-studded backcourt.
Ultimately, the Warriors dealt Russell to Minnesota halfway through the season in a trade that netted them Andrew Wiggins — which is why this move is the “best of the worst.” At the end of the day, Myers found a way to allow the Dubs to continue to financially fund a competitive roster by maintaining Durant’s pay slot.