The day after the Warriors completed a trade with Minnesota shipping D'Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman to the Wolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, a lightly-protected 2021 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr explained the rationale behind the deal.
"We know that Andrew is a better positional fit for us than what D'Angelo was, just given that Steph (Curry) and Klay (Thompson) will be back by next season—hopefully before then in Steph's case, " Kerr said. "So he's a good positional fit, athletically—now it's a matter of catching Andrew up to speed with what we like to do here and really trying to make an impact on him regarding our process and how we like to do our business and how we can help him get better and how he can help our team get better."
Wiggins' pace and speed at the three is another thing that Kerr likes about the former No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft. The Kansas product is averaging 22.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists on the season. After this year, Wiggins will be left with three years on his deal, worth just under $95 million.
The Warriors are currently just 12-40, the worst record in the Western Conference, but are poised to be at full-strength in future seasons.
Kerr acknowledged that there were initial concerns when Russell was signed this past offseason.
"To be perfectly blunt, the fit was questionable when we signed him. Nobody questioned that," Kerr said. "When you already have Steph and Klay and you add a ball-dominant guard you can rightfully question the fit. That was one of those reasons the trade rumors started before the season even began and I think D'Angelo understood that before he signed the contract."
The 23-year-old Russell agreed to a four-year, $117 million deal this past offseason upon joining the Warriors, having notched his first career All-Star appearance last season when he was the centerpiece of the Nets. The Lakers originally selected Russell with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft out of Ohio State. Los Angeles jettisoned him to Brooklyn in 2017 in a trade that netted Brook Lopez.
He is averaging 23.6 points, 6.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Curry will miss at least another month as he rehabs his broken wrist, but the Warriors are hopeful for a March return, the team announced Saturday.