Timberwolves’ Bold Trade Plans Involve D’Angelo Russell

Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Minnesota Timberwolves expected to be much more successful in regular season play after making the bold move to acquire Rudy Gobert in the NBA offseason. So far, the team has posted just a 22-23 record and ranks ninth in the Western Conference.

There are some asset management decisions the Timberwolves must soon make. Atop the list of priorities is to determine how to navigate D’Angelo Russell’s future with the organization. It could result in a possible trade.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Timberwolves are shopping Russell in trade conversations with the goal of acquiring a different point guard.

The Timberwolves have a major decision to make with D’Angelo Russell, who is on an expiring $31.3 million contract with no signs of an extension. The team would lose his salary slot if he leaves as a free agent, so Minnesota has been exploring trade possibilities for Russell while prioritizing another point guard, sources said.

Russell is playing on an expiring salary worth $31.3 million without an outlook of getting a contract extension agreement reached. If he was to depart in free agency, the Timberwolves wouldn’t be gaining spending power as they are already set to be operating over the salary cap.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: D’Angelo Russell & Minnesota Timberwolves Updates

Russell is having a respectable season from a statistical standpoint. In his 42 games played, he’s averaged 17.1 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 6.2 assists. He’s shooting 46.1 percent from the floor and 36.5 percent from 3-point range.

When looking beyond the stat sheet, Russell’s fit with the Timberwolves has been clunky. There’s backcourt overlap as Anthony Edwards develops. However, most concerning of all has been the need for more maximization in pick-and-roll situations. The thought was that by acquiring Gobert’s roll man ability, the team could better operate out of ball screens with Russell navigating them. That has yet to transpire.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: D’Angelo Russell & Minnesota Timberwolves Updates

A team that acquires Russell will surely need to be committing to him for the long-term future. Given the Timberwolves’ desire to acquire a replacement point guard, it would likely require a player signed with multiple years remaining on their contract. For a team to give up such a player deemed worthy by Minnesota to acquire in return for Russell, they’d need to be enthusiastic about Russell’s fit on a new contract.

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