NBA Rumor: D'Angelo Russell to Timberwolves?

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There’s a hold-up: Minnesota isn’t offering enough draft compensation. As it stands, the Warriors have been offered Minnesota’s 2020 first-round pick and Brooklyn’s 2020 first-round pick, which would be sent via Atlanta as part of what is effectively a four-team trade with the Hawks and Rockets. But the Warriors want future firsts instead of picks in 2020—most importantly, they want an unprotected first-round pick in 2021, which will have a much stronger draft class than the one coming this June.

Trade conversations between the Warriors and Timberwolves have reached an impasse, according to league sources. Minnesota has long been interested in acquiring point guard D’Angelo Russell, and it recently offered Golden State a package for Russell that included shooting guard Andrew Wiggins. But to seriously consider dealing Russell to the Timberwolves, Golden State would need a compelling haul of draft picks, per league sources.

Minnesota has been unwilling to include its 2020 first-round pick, which, given that the Timberwolves own the NBA’s fifth-worst record at 15-33, will likely land in the top-10. To contemplate shipping Russell to Minnesota, the Warriors would need that pick included. And if the Timberwolves did add it to their package, Golden State still wouldn’t necessarily be sold on trading Russell before the deadline. Though Wiggins has eased concerns this season about his ability to play in a team concept, the Warriors aren’t convinced that he could be a key cog on a title contender. Golden State also isn’t high on the pool of prospects expected to be available early in June’s draft, and it worries that top-10 picks this year won’t have the trade value they normally bring.

The deal moves the Wolves $2M further away from the tax line, but they were $7.9M below that line already – it’s hard to construct a trade where that ends up mattering. Which is where we get to the more specific opportunity cost involving Russell. If anything, Minnesota reduced its flexibility in this regard. Teague’s $19M contract could be aggregated with others as a salary match, which potentially matters quite a bit if there happens to be a certain player who makes $27.5M that you want to acquire. However, Crabbe’s $18.5M cannot be aggregated. A deal of Teague and Covington for Russell and Kevon Looney, for instance, seemed highly plausible (with draft picks thrown in). That is no longer on the table; now the only other contract they could pair with Covington’s in such a trade is the much less desirable one of Gorgui Dieng.

Wolves to intensify D'Angelo Russell pursuit

New team president Gersson Rosas and the rest of his front office have been actively pursuing deals on a number of fronts to try to remake the roster to better fit their vision for the team moving forward, league sources told The Athletic. That includes intensifying their pursuit of Golden State Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell. Discussions have yielded no traction to this point, league sources said. So far, Golden State has been inclined to keep Russell.
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