Phoenix Suns

D'Angelo Russell eyes super team with Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker

D'Angelo Russell eyes super team with Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker

D'Angelo Russell has only had a few months to get to know his new Warriors teammates, but he's already extremely familiar with two players he plans to team up with in the future.

Golden State's guard, acquired in a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn in July, is featured on the newest cover of Slam Magazine. Russell, however, isn't alone. He's there with two longtime friends.

Russell, Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns and Phoenix's Devin Booker go way back. They came up through the AAU system together, and entered the NBA at the same time. Towns and Russell were the Nos. 1 and 2 picks in the 2015 NBA Draft, while Booker was the No. 13 overall selection.

All three players are part of the next generation of NBA superstars. And in convening for the magazine shoot, Russell confessed a desire to form a super team with them down the line.

"We gotta do this again, when we’re all on the same team,” Russell said toward the end of the shoot. “Nah, don’t cut [the film]. Y’all got it on footage. When we’re all on the same team -- I ain’t gonna tell you which team because I don’t know -- we’re gonna do this again."

Russell signed a four-year contract with Golden State after coming over in the sign-and-trade for Kevin Durant, and is due to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2022-23 season. Both Towns and Booker have five years remaining on their contracts, and are scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency one year after Russell. All three are paid handsomely.

It remains to be seen if it even will be possible to fit all three players on the same roster in the future, especially if any of them continue to improve (and thus qualify for larger salaries). Still, Towns is the oldest of the three, and he only turns 24 this November.

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There's plenty of time for it to happen. In the meantime, however, you can expect all three of Russell, Towns and Booker to star separately on their current teams.

Jared Dudley backs up Draymond Green's comments on Marquese Chriss, Suns

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USATSI

Jared Dudley backs up Draymond Green's comments on Marquese Chriss, Suns

Marquese Chriss' NBA career didn't get off to a storybook start, but now he appears to have found a home with the Warriors.

Chriss, a projected top-five talent in the 2016 NBA Draft, struggled in Phoenix and was traded to the Houston Rockets prior to last season. Issues with maturity, shot selection and overall effectiveness saw Chriss dealt once again to the Cavs last February before signing with the Warriors this summer. 

The University of Washington product has looked like a different player since donning a Warriors jersey, with his play reportedly leading some to petition general manager Bob Myers to keep Chriss on the roster. After Chriss scored eight points and pulled down four rebounds in the Warriors' preseason loss to the Lakers on Wednesday night at Staples Center, Draymond Green teed off on the Suns for not getting enough of the blame for how Chriss' career has gone.

Jared Dudley, who played with Chriss in Phoenix and now suits up for the Lakers, responded to Green's comments, backing up the growth Chriss has shown in his short time with the Warriors.

The Suns have been poorly run for the past decade, failing to help a bevy of young players like Chriss realize their full potential. With the way that ship was being steered in the desert, Chriss had a very small chance of succeeding.

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After a solid preseason, Chriss, still only 22, appears likely to be given a spot on the Warriors' hard-capped, 14-man roster, giving them big man depth behind Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein. 

The Warriors got a 22-year-old with all-world talent on the cheap, and they are doing what good organizations are supposed to -- getting the talent to shine through.

Why Draymond Green's rant defending Marquese Chriss was mostly spot on

Why Draymond Green's rant defending Marquese Chriss was mostly spot on

Injuries have kept players off the court for months, even years, and buried the hopes of entire teams. They’ve derailed entire NBA seasons.

For the Warriors of this season, however, injuries may have brought them prosperity.

Without injuries to projected centers Willie Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney, they might not know what they have in Marquese Chriss, who was signed to a non-guaranteed contract but is playing his way onto the roster.

The Warriors are positioned to gain what the Suns -- who drafted Chriss in 2016 -- lost when they traded him out of Phoenix after two seasons. That certainly is the perspective of Draymond Green, and his impassioned defense of Chriss is mostly on point.

“He’s been in some pretty tough situations,” Green told reporters Wednesday night, after a 126-93 loss to the Lakers at Staples Center. “No one ever blames the situation, though. It’s always the kid. No one ever blames these s---ty franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault.

“He’s getting older now, so he’s not a kid anymore. But he came into this league as a kid. But it’s never the organization’s fault. It’s always that guy.”

“So I’m happy he’s got another opportunity to show what he can really do. Because he’s a prime example.”

Green wasn’t quite done. He also saved some ammo for media, indicating reporters are more likely to direct blame on a player than a franchise.

“Because you’re friends with them,” Green said. “You want all the access from them. So, the way you guys will come out and bash players, y’all don’t do that to organizations because it’s all about access and protecting your future. No one really protects these younger guys’ futures. Because it’s all about ‘what can I do for myself.’

“So, no one talks about the organizations. It’s always just the player, the player, the player. Because they can’t do s--t about it but be young. And their name carries no weight, and then (they’ll) be out of the league and onto the next thing.

“No Phoenix writer is going to bash the Phoenix Suns,” Green continued. “But let’s be frank about it. When he was there, the organization was terrible. Everything was going wrong. But he get blamed, like he’s the problem. When he left, ain’t nothing go right. That’s my take on it.”

OK. Again, some of Green’s claims are on target. There are instances of young players being blamed for their failure, while franchises skate.

The Warriors have been skating for a few years now, but it wasn’t always so. They’ve been kicked plenty over the many lean years they put up. Former owner Chris Cohan was such a punching bag that he retreated from media exposure. His right-hand man, former team president Robert Rowell, also took his absorption of bruises from local media.

That’s about where the Suns are now. Since real estate/banking tycoon Robert Sarver purchased the team 15 years ago, they have been in such a freefall that they’ve become a blight on the league.

The Knicks of the Western Conference.

And they have been taken to task -- nationally and locally -- for being a once-proud franchise run aground by cantankerous and penurious ownership.

Green is wrong about that.

Green likely is right about the Suns not knowing what they had in Chriss. Someone in the front office thought enough to draft him No. 8 overall in 2016. But the chaos upstairs -- largely generated by Sarver -- has resulted in a dizzying array of impulsive and regrettable decisions.

If not for the incompetence of Sarver and the Suns, Chriss probably would not be a Warrior, and he certainly wouldn’t have to accept a non-guaranteed contract, as he did 17 days ago.

And if not for injuries to Cauley-Stein and Kevon Looney, the Warriors might not have much of a file on Chriss, either.

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For now, they stand to benefit from having Chriss on the roster. He’s not there yet, but he will be. Any day now.