Option #1: D’Angelo Russell, Golden State Warriors
A trade “rumor” that’s been flying around recently is that the Sixers and Warriors are looking to engage in a Ben Simmons-D’Angelo Russell swap. When I first looked into this, I could tell that it was absolute nonsense. Simmons might drive Sixers fans crazy, but the idea that Elton Brand would trade away someone of his potential at 23 years old is foolishness.
However, this got me thinking. What if the Sixers instead pursued a deal that involved packaging Al Horford for Russell. Not only does this provide the Sixers with a legit shooter who can also handle the basketball, but there are a ton of reasons to believe this would work out for both sides.
Russell really “broke out” during his fourth year in the NBA. He was selected to his first career All-Star Game and averaged 21.1 points and 7 assists per game in 2018/2019, all while leading a young Nets team into the playoffs.
The Nets moved on from DLo during the offseason, opting instead to commit to Kyrie Irving as their future PG. Due to this, the Golden State Warriors decided to enter the conversation, acquiring Russell via a sign and trade agreement.
The general vibe was that Golden State signed him solely as a future trade piece seeing as they already have Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson at the guard spots.
Despite the media falling in love with Russell and his Nets during their 2019 playoff run, individually he really didn’t perform all that well. He shot just 43.4% from the field and 36.9% from beyond the arc during the regular season. He averaged over 3 turnovers per game and was widely abused on the defensive side of the ball.
In the playoffs he was notably exposed, shooting under 36% throughout the series as his team was eliminated 4-1 (by the Sixers).
His time with the Warriors has been even less impressive, playing just 24 games due to his injury, he came back to see all his major stats notably worsen. The Warriors have a record of 5-19 in those 24 games.
The Warriors know DLo isn’t part of their team’s future. When Klay and Curry return 100% healthy next season, the team is going to attempt to re-open their championship window by any means necessary. This would include moving Russell to land a player that more readily fits their currently depleted roster.
Golden State Receives: Al Horford, Zhaire Smith, 2021 1st Round Pick (76ers), 2022 1st Round Pick (76ers)
Philadelphia Receives: D’Angelo Russell
Steve Kerr and the Warriors have long loved their versatile big men. From playing small ball with Draymond Green at center, to utilizing guys like David West or David Lee at the 5, this seems like a match made in heaven for the Warriors.
Not only does Al Horford fill a very vacant hole at the center position, but the potential for him to play successfully alongside Curry and Thompson is quite realistic. Horford doesn’t need a lot of shots to be happy, loves playing defense, and is a team-oriented type player.
With the Lakers primed to have Anthony Davis running the West for the next couple years, Horford might be just the guy the Warriors need to defend him. Zhaire Smith and the future draft picks give the Warriors three more cheap and young options to include in their roster.
On the Sixers end of things, this is a no-brainer. Not only is DLo a shoot-first type player that this team desperately needs, but he was actually teammates with both Embiid AND Simmons at one point during high school. Yes, all three attended Montverde Academy in Florida at some stage and Russell remains close with both players. The chemistry between the trio would be second to none.
Continued on the next page: “Perimeter Deadeye”