Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 stars the Wolves could acquire to help Towns

HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 15: NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 15: NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 18: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and D’Angelo Russell. Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Is D’Angelo Russell still a possibility?

There was a brief moment, right before the start of free agency, that Wolves fans — myself included — let their collective guard down and thought that maybe, just maybe, it was a done deal that D’Angelo Russell was headed to the Wolves.

Alas, the Golden State Warriors swooped in and had more to offer in a sign-and-trade (read: Kevin Durant) and also less cap gymnastics to clear cap space and landed Russell right out from underneath Towns’s nose.

Hardly anyone thinks that Russell is long for the Bay Area, despite the four-year, $117 million deal he just signed. Once Klay Thompson returns from his knee injury in a year or so, Russell will be less of a necessary piece and could be more valuable in a trade for some salary relief and strong supporting cast members.

The Wolves are surely still interested in Russell, who is one of Towns’ best friends and would fit nicely with Towns’s potential title window and the prime of their respective careers. His game also fits nicely with Towns, provided they each continue to improve on the defensive end of the floor.

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Part of the catch-22 here is that a star duo of Russell and Towns would work best with a pair of strong 3-and-D wings and an athletic big man who could make hay on the glass. In order to land Russell, however, the Wolves would almost surely need to part with the likes of Robert Covington, who would be a perfect and affordable fit for the Warriors as they plan to get Thompson back from injury.

The Wolves would need to throw in some additional players to match salaries, of course, but it wouldn’t be all that difficult. A deal could include Jeff Teague and/or Gorgui Dieng, or perhaps a third team would get involved.

There’s even a scenario in which Wiggins and a player or two are traded to Oklahoma City for Paul and the Wolves then flip Covington and a player or two to Golden State for Russell, giving the Wolves a Big Three of Paul, Russell, and Towns. This wouldn’t be easy, but it’s far from impossible and both are players would could be gettable between now and the February trade deadline.

The fit with both Paul and Russell in the backcourt wouldn’t be perfect, but it would bring the playoffs back to Minnesota.

But before you dream to much about what that team would look like, let’s introduce a third option…