The Minnesota Timberwolves have been salivating over D’Angelo Russell for quite some time.
Over the summer, it was widely believed throught NBA circles that Russell had intentions of joining his friend, Karl-Anthony Towns with the T-Wolves this summer. Instead, however Rusell he was involved in a sign and trade deal with the Brooklyn Nets and the Golden State Warriors that shipped him to San Francisco to the Warriors in exchnage for Kevin Durant who came to New York City with the Brooklyn Nets.
The NBA’s trading deadline is next month and it is still very early. Recently the Warriors and Wolves have discussed variations of trade packages to bring Russell to the Warriors. One iteration of a deal discussed between the two teams was the Timberwolves shipping Gorgui Dieng, Robert Covington and Naz Reid to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for D’Angelo Russell.
That wasn’t a sell.
A package that includes future draft considerations and Andrew Wiggins could be of benefit to the Warriors.
Wiggins, 24, the first overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by way of Kansas has been putting up solid numbers this season with the T-Wolves. The Canadian and former Jayhawk is averaging 22.8 points, 5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1 block per contest for the 15-25 Timberwolves who have lost three straight games and currently sit in 13th place in the NBA’s Western Conference standings.
Earlier this season, Washington Post NBA writer, Ben Golliver checked in with me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast and weighed in on Wiggins. “Have you ever had that moment in your personal life where you have a relationship with someone and you at some point just throw your hands up and you’re like: ‘I’m never going to understand this person, I’m not going to get them,'” Golliver said of Wiggins.
“That’s where I’m at with Wiggins.”
For those keeping score at home: During the first 11 games, of the NBA season, Wiggins averaged nearly 26 points per game. These are career numbers for Wiggins who has averaged 19.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, one steal and 0.6 blocks per game.
“I was all the in with Wiggins as a high schooler,” Ben Golliver told Scoop B Radio.
“I saw him as a high school sophomore and I was like: ‘Oh my God! This kid can jump out the gym!’ He’s got this crazy 360-spin move that he loves to go to, half the time he had a pretty good looking jump shot for his age. I was like: ‘Alright he’s got the right size and skill and athleticism. He’s really going to be a player.’ I clung to that notion for years and then finally like two years ago I gave up and said: ‘I don’t know. I’m not sure if this guy loves basketball, he doesn’t seem excited to be here on a night to night basis. He coasts too much, he disappears too much.’ And yet this year he’s rewritten his reputation again and he’s looking great on the ball, and he’s having much bigger positive with them. So I’m lost man, I don’t know. Maybe you can explain it to me. I don’t know where we stand with Andrew Wiggins.”
Meanwhile back at the ranch, D’Angelo Russell is getting buckets.
The second overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Russell is averaging 23.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists for a 9-34 Warriors squad that has been trying to find ways to survive without Steph Curry and Klay Thompson who are out with injuries.
So why would D’Angelo Russell want to join Minnesota and why do the Wolves want him?
Well for one, the Wolves want to keep their All-Star, Karl-Anthony Towns happy.
The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss reported last month that multiple NBA executives have stated that Towns is “unhappy” in Minnesota with the T-Wolves.
On September 23, 2018, Towns signed a five-year, $190 million super-maximum extension with the Timberwolves. The Wolves haven’t had a star big man since Kevin Garnett.
“I see a lot of similarities in Karl to myself,” Garnett told me.
“If I could ever be an inspiration and lead him into that, I’ve always wanted to be that. And the fact that he took heed and took some of the advice I gave him is more than honorable, so it’s dope.”
Despite speculation of what direction is which in Minny, Towns has always been steadfast in being positive. “Being patient on the court,” Towns told me.
“Everything will begin to slow down. I mean, just how to be a professional, how to be a professional in this game on and off the court. Just to do my best to lead and that’s the biggest thing.”
The Boston Celtics were unable to nab Anthony Davis via trade last season or even during the summer. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, Davis was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Back in the fall, I shared that the Boston Celtics have had their eyes on Karl-Anthony Towns. More specifically: Celtics GM, Danny Ainge bounced the idea of Jaylen Brown, Grant Williams, Marcus Smart, Romeo Langford and a pair of draft picks for Towns.
Jaylen Brown ended up signing an extension with the Boston. Brown later told me that he likes the bean. “It feels great to be able to take care of my family and have the financial means to do so,” he said.
“But it was never about the money for me, I’m trying to be great.”
In the meantime, it’s no secret that Towns and Russell want to play on the same team together. Russell told SLAM Magazine’s Max Resetar that he plans to team up with Towns and Devin Booker at some point during their careers. “We gotta do this again, when we’re all on the same team,” said Russell.
“Nah, don’t cut it. “Y’all got it on footage. When we’re all on the same team—I ain’t gonna tell you which team because I don’t know—we’re gonna do this again.”
For the number geeks: Towns and Booker are both under contract with their respective teams for five more years.
Russell is under contract for four more season. The Phoenix Suns, Bookers team nor the Timberwolves, Russell’s team have tradable assets to make tangible offers.
Time will tell.