Timberwolves Rumor: Wolves still think they can land D’Angelo Russell

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 06: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 06: D'Angelo Russell #1 of the Brooklyn Nets. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

Despite there being several hurdles to clear before it can actually happen, the Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly still hoping to sign D’Angelo Russell.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are capped out.

That’s probably not news to you, and it certainly isn’t news to the rest of the NBA. But it also doesn’t mean that it’s going to stop the new front office from attempting some cap gymnastics to fit another All-Star alongside Karl-Anthony Towns.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on his podcast that there has been “a lot” of noise surrounding the Wolves chasing Russell in free agency. Minnesota has apparently “communicated to the league…at large” that they’re serious about landing the 23-year-old All-Star.

After making the All-Star team for the first time in his career last season, Russell is no doubt seeking a max contract in restricted free agency. And the Wolves need a second star if they’re going to challenge for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Plus, Russell and Towns are best buds, going back several years as friends.

A match made in heaven, right?

Not so fast. The Wolves have two years and more than $33 million tied up in Gorgui Dieng and one more year of Jeff Teague at $19 million. In related news, there are only nine players under contract if you include first-round pick Jarrett Culver and 10 if you include second-rounder Jaylen Nowell.

Somehow, they’ll need to find a backup point guard and a starting power forward, yet Russell is apparently the guy they’re prepared to chase.

Russell is still just 23 years old and is coming into his own as a scorer and distributor, but he continues to have issues on defense. It’s unclear if this is the player to whom the Wolves should be potentially attaching future assets in order to clear cap space — especially with a starting point guard under contract in Teague and plenty of other holes to fill on the roster.

That said, Gersson Rosas and Co. surely have a series of moves in mind. Theoretically, Teague shouldn’t be impossible to trade as he’s a useful player on an expiring contract, albeit overpaid and coming off the worst year of his career.

There’s also Andrew Wiggins, who Rosas sure sounded like he wanted to keep in his introductory press conference back in May. But it wouldn’t shock yours truly if the Wolves have plans to move him. He could potentially be the only one of the three bad contracts the Minnesota would be able to move without also losing an asset.

Clearly, that’s why Dario Saric was moved: he was an asset and will be getting a raise soon. The Wolves felt like a player at No. 6 in the draft on a rookie scale deal would be better value than Saric heading into his payday.

The other possibility is that this is a weird internal smokescreen, if you will. Perhaps the Wolves are interested in Russell and would love to have him, all while knowing it’s nearly impossible to create the space and actually sign him. Yet this shows Towns that they’re going after his buddy and after another young All-Star.

There’s no harm there, and it isn’t like the front office is deceiving Towns. They just know how hard it will be to actually pull off the signing.

Next. 3 reasons to love Jarrett Culver on the Wolves. dark

All that said, this is still something to keep a close eye on. If the Wolves are serious about Russell, they’ll need to get wheeling and dealing in relatively short order.