The Timberwolves initially appeared to have the upper hand, led by Karl-Anthony Towns, one of Russell’s best friends, and Pablo Prigioni, one of his favorite assistant coaches with the Nets. However, the Warriors swooped in on June 30 with a maximum-salary offer as part of a sign-and-trade involving Kevin Durant.
“I thought the opportunity here was amazing … ” Russell said of the Timberwolves on Friday. “But then when this (Warriors) opportunity came, the weather is way better, so that helped me. … I did my first winter in New York and that was tough. So to get the opportunity to go somewhere where it’s warm again, I think that played a major part in my plan.”
Here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- The Warriors are still months away from getting Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson back, but it appears Draymond Green is ready to return to the lineup. Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets that Green is “trending toward” returning on Monday vs. Utah after missing five games due to a torn ligament and small bone chip in his left index finger.
- It was an eventful offseason for veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who was traded from the Jazz to the Grizzlies to the Suns, then was released by Phoenix before signing with Milwaukee. As Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune writes, Korver admitted he was surprised by the initial trade out of Utah. “Yeah, definitely caught me off-guard. Like I said, I’ve been traded a few times before — very rarely do you see it coming,” Korver said. “You know, the NBA is a beautiful job for a lot of reasons; living stability is not one of them.”
- Pelicans fans anxiously awaiting Zion Williamson‘s debut will almost certainly have to wait until at least December, as head coach Alvin Gentry recently confirmed that a November return date would be “ambitious” (Twitter link via Andrew Lopez of ESPN). Williamson, who is recovering from meniscus surgery, said last week that his knee is “getting stronger day by day” and is confident he’ll still have plenty of opportunities to contribute over the course of the 82-game season, writes Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com.
Alex Kirschenbaum contributed to this post.