Minnesota Timberwolves: D’Angelo Russell has ties to the organization

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 12: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 12: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

D’Angelo Russell has several ties to the Minnesota Timberwolves organization. Could he be a legitimate candidate for the Wolves?

The Minnesota Timberwolves are now over a year removed from their most recent playoff appearance. Unfortunately, the 2018-19 season did not go as planned.

With the trade demands of Jimmy Butler as well as a mid-season coaching change, Minnesota found themselves with the 5th worst record in the Western Conference and not even close to making the cut. They now have a pivotal offseason ahead of them, but seem to lack the ability to sign a star free agent to get them over the hump.

With just a few key moves, the Timberwolves could look like a completely different team next season on their way to a playoff appearance. If they are able to shed some salary, they should be a real contender to land D’Angelo Russell this offseason.

Russell is a restricted free agent, coming off of a spectacular season for the Brooklyn Nets. He averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in 30.2 minutes per game. He also shot well from deep at 36.9 percent. On the season, he made 234 3-pointers, good for ninth most in the entire NBA.

The rising star is still only 23 years old made the 2019 NBA All-Star team. He was one of the most improved players in the league last season and has proven he can be a superstar. For example, he was the best player on a playoff team.

Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell would be an exciting young duo as the former No. 1 and No. 2 pick in 2015 NBA draft respectively. Running a high pick-and-roll with those two elite offensive players would be a headache for opposing defenses.

Russel and Towns are known to be friends off the court. In fact, Karl-Anthony Towns has already made a conscious effort to recruit D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota if the opportunity were to present itself.

According to Shams Charania,  the Timberwolves are one of the teams expected to show interest in Russell this offseason.

Although it may not make a difference, the Timberwolves also have Pablo Progioni on their coaching staff as of recently. Prigioni had been with Brooklyn prior to coming to Minnesota and was instrumental in the offensive development of D’Angelo Russell. Upon his departure, Russell went to Twitter to express his feelings for Prigioni.

Although this may not mean much, anything helps when it comes to acquiring a star in free agency.

The only way the Timberwolves can even attempt to obtain Russell is if they clear some salary. They have several large contracts on their books for the 2019-20 season, including Jeff Teague at $19.0 million, Gorgui Dieng at $15.2 million, and Andrew Wiggins at $27.3 million. If Minnesota is able to shed one or two of these contracts, they will have the space to make a legitimate offer for Russell.

Unless the necessary cap space can be cleared, the Timberwolves will not be in the running for D’Angelo Russell. This is a true roadblock for them right now as he will require potentially a max contract.

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Of course, even if he were to sign Minnesota’s offer sheet, Brooklyn can still match it and retain him. Regardless, the idea of bringing in a player like D’Angelo Russell should excite Minnesota Timberwolves fans.