D’Angelo Russell just signed with the Warriors this offseason, but the All-Star guard may be on the move before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. The Knicks and Timberwolves are among the top teams pursuing a trade for Russell with the Warriors, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski. The Suns have also been mentioned as a team with interest in Russell, per Prime Time Sports Talk.
Minnesota was one of the teams that pursued Russell in free agency and was believed to be the favorite before the Warriors swooped in to sign the top guard. The Warriors and Timberwolves “remain engaged in trade conversations” around Russell, per The Athletic.
There remain obstacles to overcome, but if the teams were to pull off a deal, it could be the closest thing to the kind of blockbuster that often highlights the frantic final days before the deadline.
So far in the Warriors-Timberwolves talks, Golden State would only consider a deal that has significant draft pick compensation as part of any Minnesota package, according to league sources. As a team currently in a rebuild, the Timberwolves are reluctant to sacrifice too much of their own draft capital in deals, including one for Russell.
Russell is on the first season of a four-year, $117.3 million contract, per Spotrac. Russell is making $27.2 million this season and the Warriors’ potential trade partner will need to send back similar contracts unless they have cap space to absorb the All-Star guard’s deal.
The Knicks Are Reportedly in Pursuit of D’Angelo Russell
The Timberwolves are not the only team with interest in Russell as the Knicks are also in pursuit of the guard. The two teams have discussed a potential deal, but the Warriors could opt to let things ride until the offseason, per The Athletic.
The Warriors signed Russell to a four-year maximum contract in July and are said to be in no rush to move the one-time All-Star. The Knicks have also registered interest in Russell and discussed potential packages, league sources said. But the Warriors could choose to hold onto him until at least this summer to see if more deals materialize when they would no longer be hard capped.
The Warriors Are Looking for a 1st Round Pick as Part of Any Deal for Russell
The Warriors are clearly aware this is not their year, but Russell is still a top asset. What are the Warriors looking for in return for Russell? Any potential trade needs to include a first-round selection as Golden State is looking for “significant draft pick compensation”, but the T-Wolves have been unwilling to include their 2020 unprotected first-round pick, per The Athletic.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe also reported the Timberwolves are interested in Russell and mentioned Andrew Wiggins as a potential fit, noting that the Warriors would unlikely have interest in his bloated contract even though it would allow the financial details to fit.
The Wolves are still in hot pursuit of D’Angelo Russell, sources say. Two months ago, it looked as if any Russell discussion — if the Warriors had interest in one — would wait until the offseason, but Minnesota has not given up hope of acquiring him now, sources say.
Matching salaries could make for some interesting cap gymnastics. Russell earns $27 million this season. Minnesota has Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng on big contracts. Minnesota could in theory acquire draft picks and salary in a Covington deal, and sweeten the pot with those.