D’Angelo Russell has assembled an All-Star year with the Brooklyn Nets in 2018-19, taking the team to their only playoff appearance since 2014-15, but the 23-year-old point guard knew by the expressions that the Nets weren’t ready yet for something more long term.
Russell, now on the Golden State Warriors side, revealed to Justin Termine and Greg Anthony Monday on SiriusXM NBA Radio about when it became obvious to him that he would be taken away from Brooklyn as free agency came up to him.
“I knew I wasn’t heading back to Brooklyn,” Russell said. “… I had no idea exactly. I take up my work with these dudes every day.
You look at the same people, you see the same coaching staff, you see the same trainers every day. So when they start to behave a little different, you just know it. … I could sense it.’
“So I just played the professional route, came in got my work in every day and just control what I could control.”
To be honest, Russell’s fate was already decided. In fact, merely in April when the Nets got the idea that Irving and later Durant were heavy possibilities.
His marijuana controversy in May also had his chances hurt. The fine wasn’t much and probably even lesser than what you’ll get for texting while driving, but people in the organization saw it as a huge indication of not being a ‘grown-up’ yet.
Russell said as well that the sign-and-trade was a big amusement to him but that he’s happy to have come up with Golden State.
He recalled how the events panned out:
“So I was listening to all these teams talking about me or not mentioning me, but taking me on their shortlist.
So it was up to me to take up and make a choice on where I wanted to be. I knew I wasn’t headed back to Brooklyn.