Warriors

Bob Myers explains what attracted Warriors to D'Angelo Russell trade

Bob Myers explains what attracted Warriors to D'Angelo Russell trade

The Warriors were about to lose Kevin Durant for nothing in free agency this summer. Then general manager Bob Myers pivoted and pulled out a sign-and-trade to acquire All-Star point guard D'Angelo Russell from the Brooklyn Nets for Durant.

The move caught many by surprise and led to speculation that the Warriors only acquired Russell with the intention of flipping him for other assets.

Myers recently rejected the idea that the Warriors took Russell just to trade him, and this week, he talked to The Athletic's Tim Kawakami about going into his free agency meeting with Durant, and his mindset once KD told him he was leaving Golden State.

"From that point on, the motivation going in and leaving, obviously leaving, I left with a certainty that [Durant] wasn't coming back," Myers said on The TK Show. "Going in, my job, our job as a front office, is to prepare for what if Kevin does come back and what if Kevin doesn't come back. It wasn't necessarily an immediate pivot to D'Angelo.

"It was, 'These are our options if Kevin doesn't come back. What can we do?' And for the people listening, it was simple. Either we do something like we did, which was more aggressive, whether it would have been that or something else, or another formulation of a sign-and-trade or using a huge trade exception, or we stand pat and signing a taxpayer mid-level. Those were the two pivot points. We obviously went the way we did."

Russell isn't the game-changing, Hall of Fame talent that Durant is, but he’s coming off his first NBA All-Star Game appearance, and set career highs in points per game, assists per game, field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage last season.

For Myers and the Warriors, there are things to like about what Russell brings to the team.

"The attraction for us was, what's very hard in our business and in any sport is, how do you get a talented, young player?" Myers said. "It's very difficult. How do you do it in my job or the front office? Usually it's through the draft or a trade. And most times you try to trade for a guy that's young and good, you have to give up something that's easier, either a guaranteed high pick or a lottery guaranteed pick, or a good player or a combination of players. It's hard to do.

"We saw an opportunity to do it. That's why we did it. And that's the direction we went in. The other direction would have been not to do that and stay the course and see where that went. But we chose the path, and we're pretty happy with it."

Despite losing Durant, the Warriors were able to replace him with an All-Star-caliber player who’s just 23 years old.

[RELATED: Russell working with Steve Nash]

Russell, Steph Curry and Draymond Green will have to hold down the fort in the Bay until Klay Thompson recovers from his torn ACL. Once the five-time All-Star returns, the Warriors will possess one of the most dynamic backcourts in the NBA.

That's something Myers and Co. definitely have to feel good about.

Loss to Knicks shows Warriors have earned NBA's worst record on merit

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Loss to Knicks shows Warriors have earned NBA's worst record on merit

The bottom, thought to have hit rock last week in Charlotte, dropped even lower for the Warriors on Wednesday when they came into Chase Center relatively healthy and were handed an “L” by the most dysfunctional franchise in the NBA and perhaps all of America sports.

Cue the rising volume of the tanking crowd.

Losing at home, in overtime, to the Knicks, who were on the second night of a back-to-back set – they were thrashed by 28 on Tuesday in Portland – on the surface makes a persuasive argument in court of public perception to convict on the charge of tanking.

Except there is considerable evidence of a generally respectable effort. Draymond Green posted a triple-double over 39 laborious minutes. D’Angelo Russell scored 32 points, including a game-tying triple that forced OT. Centers Willie Cauley-Stein and Marquese Chriss combined for 19 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks.

On the surface, such numbers appear gaudy enough to send the atrocious Knicks to their 11th consecutive defeat. But the Warriors sabotaged their effort in the same areas as they did last week in losing successive games to the Hawks, who had dropped 10 in a row, and the Hornets, who had lost seven of nine.

The lapses of execution were startling, the inattention to detail indefensible.

The most incriminating moments were those with New York’s Marcus Morris repeatedly finding open shots beyond the arc. He entered the game shooting 48.4 percent from deep, placing him third in the NBA – put undoubtedly first on the scouting report of any team facing the Knicks.

If coach Steve Kerr and his staff had instructed players to let Morris fire, daring him to make them, there’s your proof of tanking.

That did not happen. Indeed, I’d venture to say the troops were reminded several times to stay with Morris, who scored 36 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-9 from deep.

“We watch film,” Glenn Robinson III said after the game. “We tried to correct some things. We’ve got to be connected on the same page. Having Draymond out there, he does a great job talking, so we try to feed off him.

“We can try to know our personnel a little bit more. Sometimes we don’t have to fly at guys who can’t it shoot as well.”

When Robinson says “know our personnel,” he’s referring not to the Warriors but to their opponents. Knowing New York’s personnel means not leaving Morris. Knowing Charlotte’s personnel means not leaving Devonte Graham, who was ignored at an alarming rate despite having more 3-point makes than anybody in the league except Houston’s James Harden. Graham scored 30 of his 33 points off 10 triples.

Winning in the NBA is hard, but even bad teams manage to do so 25 percent of the time. It’s inevitable, because there always are seven or eight teams going nowhere and well aware of it.

The Warriors over the past 10 days have played a schedule as soft as nurse’s cotton, seeing five teams among the league’s bottom eight. They are 1-4, beating the Bulls but losing to the Hawks, the Hornets, the Grizzlies and the Knicks, who are widely considered the absolute worst.

“We’re not as talented as most teams,” Green conceded late Wednesday night. “We’re so young.”

As usual, Green was speaking truth. The Warriors, as currently constituted, are destined to lose more often than they win. They will be in the lottery because their roster isn’t good enough to avoid that fate, which obviously comes with long-term benefit.

Losing to this version of the Knicks, barely a shell of a grand vision that included, or so they thought, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, ought to serve as an insult to every player and coach on the Warriors’ payroll.

[RELATED: Run TMC's return reminds Warriors of what could have been]

After trailing by 22 in the second quarter, the Warriors wiped out the deficit in the second half, taking a lead and sending the game into overtime, where they had a decided edge. Overtime on the second night of a back-to-back should have been a direct route to New York’s demise, and also given the Warriors a mild and temporary rebuttal to the incessant tanking noise.

They couldn’t pull it off. And now, seven weeks into the season, the Warriors are seven games behind the Kings and 17.5 games behind the Lakers.

The Warriors do not have the worst personnel in the NBA. They do not have the worst coaching staff. They have the worst record, though, and the last 10 days testify they’re earning it on merit.

Warriors guard Ky Bowman won't play vs. Jazz, will make G League debut

Warriors guard Ky Bowman won't play vs. Jazz, will make G League debut

The Warriors will fly to Utah on Thursday for a matchup against the Jazz on Friday.

But two-way guard Ky Bowman will not board the flight.

Instead, he will head down to Santa Cruz to make his G League debut Friday night, the team announced Thursday morning.

When D'Angelo Russell missed nine games from Nov. 17 to Dec. 2, Bowman averaged 12.6 points, 4.1 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 31.7 minutes.

But with D-Lo back in the lineup during the last four games, Bowman's numbers have dipped to 6.5 points, 2.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 19.2 minutes.

Throw in the fact that guard Jacob Evans is back after missing 21 games, and it makes perfect sense to send Bowman -- who has used 31 of the maximum 45 days he can be up with Golden State -- to the Sea Dubs.

[RELATEDWarriors' Kerr hopes to ease Poole's transition to G League]

It's unclear at this point if Alen Smailagic will travel to Utah or join Bowman in Surf City.

Santa Cruz hosts the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, and tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus.

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