Warriors Counting on D'Angelo Russell to Help Fill Kevin Durant's Void

The free agency moratorium has come and gone, meaning NBA teams are now allowed to formally announce the transactions they've made and the players they've acquired.

The Warriors did just that Sunday, announcing the sign-and-trade deal with the Nets that sent Kevin Durant and a protected first-round pick to Brooklyn in exchange for D'Angelo Russell, Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham.

"We're excited to add a player of D'Angelo's ability to our roster," Warriors general manager Bob Myers said in a team statement. "He's coming off an All-Star season with the Nets and we feel, at the age of 23, his best basketball is certainly ahead of him in regards to his career trajectory."

Russell is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-best 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.23 steals and 30.2 minutes per game for the Nets last year. He led Brooklyn to its first postseason berth in four seasons, and averaged 19.6 points per contest in the Nets' five-game, first-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers.

The former No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft is expected to start alongside two-time MVP Steph Curry while Klay Thompson recovers from a torn ACL suffered in Game 6 of the Finals. If and when Thompson returns, the three sharpshooting guards could potentially all play together. Russell has also proven to be a very effective player out of the pick-and-roll, and Golden State has undoubtedly pictured him forming a potent pairing with newly signed center Willie Cauley-Stein, who specializes as a lob threat.

Of course, if the Warriors are going to find a way to get back to the Finals next season, they'll need Russell to fill the majority of the scoring void created by Durant's departure. As talented as Russell is, that's a tall task.

"And, as Joe said earlier this week, we're thankful to Kevin for the incredible things he did for our team and franchise during his three years with the Warriors," Myers continued. "We wish him the best moving forward."

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In formally announcing the sign-and-trade, the Warriors have done just that -- begun moving forward. They have fond memories of Durant's time in Golden State. Now it's time to create new ones with Russell.

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