NBA rumors: Knicks still pursuing D’Angelo Russell trade with Warriors | NBCS Bay Area

Editor’s note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

The trade deadline drama did not disappoint, and the Warriors were front and center in the madness.

It was long expected that the team could be active as sellers with pieces that were on one-year deals, but general manager Bob Myers and Co. decided to completely deconstruct the roster, starting with D’Angelo Russell.

Most assumed they would wait until the offseason to attempt to move the 23-year-old point guard, but the Warriors surprisingly moved quickly and traded him to Minnesota before the deadline. To get under the repeater tax line, Myers also included the salaries of Jacob Evans III and Omari Spellman in the deal.

Key veterans Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III were shipped off to Philadelphia to help shore up a Sixers’ bench that needed wing help.

Instead of dissecting the return and analyzing the actual trades themselves, let’s look at the rest of THIS season, and see which Warriors will benefit most from the trades.

Andrew Wiggins

Well this one is obvious. Wiggins will be surrounded by the presence of a superb coaching staff led by Steve Kerr, and superstars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green in the building.

While only Green is available to play for the next few weeks, Wiggins will get a chance to learn from the very best. If there is anyone in the league that can instill a defensive mindset in other players, it is the “motivational skills” of Draymond.

When Curry eventually returns in March, Wiggins will get a chance to see the impact of Curry’s gravity on his own game. It will be up to Wiggins to be open and willing to adapt to the Warriors style and culture, not vice versa. If he can do so, the Warriors will feel like they majorly upgraded their team. If not, and he maintains the same inefficient offense and lackadaisical defensive issues that plagued him in Minnesota, then the Warriors will be forced into a tough spot with a bloated contract weighing them down.

Eric Paschall

With Robinson and Burks leaving, there will be plenty of playing time to be had at the wing position, and the Warriors have been trying to see what Paschall can do in that role. Paschall played his best earlier in the season, especially when Russell was out of the lineup.

When Paschall gets to his spot, and is fed the ball in the right rhythm, he can be destructive on the offensive end. With Russell, it appeared as if Paschall could not find the right chemistry in the offense, defering to waiting for isolation basketball and having to create on his own.

Wiggins will not help in that regard, but the ball should at the very least move a little more around in half court sets with others running point, and the team will also try to jump out into transition more frequently. Kerr and the coaches do not want Paschall to become a purely isolation, offensive focal point since he will not be in that role when Curry and Klay return, but without Russell, he will get more of a taste of the freedom and fluidity of a Kerr-style offense.

Damion Lee

Speaking of guys that will benefit from a free flowing offense, Lee might be the biggest beneficiary. Throughout the season, Lee has shown that he is not just a spot up 3-point shooter, but that he’s an excellent slasher and loves to run on the fast break. He has proven that he is adept at finishing at the rim with his left hand and moving in traffic.

These attributes did not match with Russell, who played a more deliberate style of offense. In theory, Lee was a good floor spacer that could just sit in the corner and wait for Russell to feed him the ball, but this season Lee has shown he is at his best when he is moving and cutting and doing all the things that Kerr loves to see from his players.

Lee was already starting and playing 30 minutes per game, but with Russell, Burks and Robinson gone, he will have much more opportunity to shoot and be a scorer. You can expect Lee to fire away and attack more often, which should help his confidence grow.

Ky Bowman/Marquese Chriss

By trading away six of the rostered players (including Willie Cauley-Stein) the Warriors now have plenty of roster spots to fill. So any players that may be signed to fill those spots will obviously be major winners in these trades.

As of now it looks like Juan Toscano-Anderson and Zach Norvell could be two of those players. But more importantly, guaranteed roster spots have finally opened up for two-way players Bowman and Chriss.

Bowman will come up from the G League and have plenty of opportunity to show he belongs in the NBA. He most likely will start against the Lakers on Saturday, and might be the primary point guard on the team until Curry returns. The coaching staff wants Bowman to be more of a facilitator, but with the team lacking so much scoring, they might have to unleash Bowman on offense until Curry returns.

Meanwhile, Chriss went from a non-gauranteed contract, to waived, to re-signed on a two-way deal, and now reportedly back to the roster on a guaranteed spot soon. His minutes have stayed consistent as of late as the starting center, but with the trade of Spellman, the team will have very few big man options and will count on Chriss even more.

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