If all goes as expected, this should continue to be a packed trade deadline. But D'Angelo Russell will likely not be involved.
After yesterday's major reported shuffling between the Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets—some players are still likely to move before the 3 p.m. ET deadline. Players like Glenn Robinson III, Alec Burks, DeMarre Carroll, Tristan Thompson and Marcus Morris Sr. are likely to change area codes today. For some reason the Detroit Pistons appear willing to add Luke Kennard to that list, too.
D'Angelo Russell is unlikely to change teams and, if he does, it's more likely to happen during the offseason.
Rumors surrounding the Rockets, Hawks, Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors have swirled. The New York Knicks were also tossed in as candidates for Russell's services. But, as reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, those four-team discussions plateaued before reaching fruition.
Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers appears content holding onto Russell—for the time being.
Instead, according to Wojnarowski, the Rockets are receiving Robert Covington, the Hawks get Clint Capela and Nene, the Timberwolves get Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Evan Turner and Atlanta's first-round pick and the Nuggets are pulling in Gerald Green and a Houston first-round pick.
Covington is an immediate boon to a Rockets team that had already felt determined to move away from a Capela who has been increasingly injured and offensively stagnant. The Hawks get a true big man and a chance to evaluate John Collins alongside one. Minnesota and Denver each get assets for players who don't fit their current windows.
This essentially puts a nail in the coffin that holds Minnesota's hopes of obtaining Russell before the deadline. The 23-year-old All Star can score in bunches and has shown enough character growth to heighten his high upside. The Timberwolves want to pair him with Karl Anthony-Towns, especially because the two's shared desire with Devin Booker to play together is no secret.
The Warriors, meanwhile, are suspected to want a player that complements the Splash Brothers better than a third who can't shoot or defend as well.
But D-Lo is a star who, at 6'4" and 23 years old, is averaging 23.8 points and 6.3 assists per game for a team whose only other offense comes from Robinson III and Burks. He's more valuable to Golden State right now than any other player mentioned and could fit alongside Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in 2020-21 if he progresses as a defender this season.
Barring Minnesota suddenly, desperately deciding to shell out too many assets (including first-round picks) and lose a lopsided deal, there's no reason for Golden State to trade Russell now instead of waiting until this offseason. He'll stay and get more properly evaluated once he has another chance to play alongside Curry.
D-Lo isn't the only young gunner being discussed, though. And the Pistons don't seem nearly as reluctant to trade away Kennard, their 23-year-old playmaker.
Woj has reported that a Phoenix Suns package of Jevon Carter, Elie Okobo and a first-round pick has gotten some ground in discussions of compensation for Kennard. A 6'5" lefty, Kennard is crafty, hard to guard and increasingly capable in all facets of the game. His points, assists and rebounds per game have increased each of his three years in the league—up to 15.8 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds thus far this season.
The slick playmaker shoots 44.2 percent from the field, 39.9 percent from three and 89.3 percent from the line despite big bumps in volume (he's taken 46.9 and 51.2 percent more shots and threes, respectively, per game this season).
It's unclear why Detroit, a team that will need years before contending (and development from the 19-year-old Sekou Doumbouya), would want to move on from a young talented guard in Kennard. But, if they're more excited by prospects in this year's relatively lukewarm draft, then Phoenix is a great landing spot.
While Booker will have to keep waiting before he, Anthony-Towns and Russell are united, Kennard is a great addition in the meantime. The lefty can space the floor when off the ball (complementing Ricky Rubio's lack of range), create his own shot with the ball and defend in moments.
Most importantly, Kennard should be able to show more of the playmaking we've seen in spurts this year. It's easier to rack up assists when you're passing to a gunner whose shot has been the subject of Drake lyrics.