The Minnesota Timberwolves should avoid dealing with the Golden State Warriors to acquire All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell at all costs.
D’Angelo Russell is a 24-year-old who made the All-Star game just last year. He’s an undeniable superstar and one of the best upcoming talents in his position.
The driving force in a potential move for D-Lo is the presence of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star and focal point, Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns is the untouchable asset within the Timberwolves that president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is urgently building around.
Golden State Warriors boss Bob Myers is notoriously tough to please and will do anything to strip every last asset for his players, and who can blame him. The Warriors have reportedly asked for the Wolves’ 2020 first-round pick without protections, which the Wolves have been unwilling to do — and it’s easy to understand their hesitation.
In his pursuit, Rosas has tried to move anybody and everybody in an attempt to satisfy his superstar, but the Timberwolves’ focus should move from the current idea of trading for D’Angelo Russell and instead focus on other players from around the league.
The four-team trade just needs to be confirmed by the league office and will leave the Timberwolves with two expiring contracts from their deals over the past month that will create an approximate $38 million in cap space come the start of free agency in Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe.
This cap space could be a major asset for the Timberwolves if they try to acquire a disgruntled star, such as Demar DeRozan if he should turn down his player option. Upon doing this, the deal could see the Timberwolves keep the four-time All-Star to improve their current group or flip him immediately in a sign-and-trade deal.
In the short term, the Wolves are apparently actively seeking another point guard. It makes sense, given that two-way player Jordan McLaughlin is the only true point man on the roster as of now. Don’t expect them to take on any future salary in this spot, however, as they try to maintain future flexibility.
But even if they go the route of the sign-and-trade deal this summer, the logical approach would still be to leave Russell in San Francisco. Instead, all the focus should turn to acquiring the other member of the Three Musketeers in Devin Booker.
The 23-year-old guard is another player who has been in an organization that has struggled, and everyone knows that Booker wants to play with his best friend, Towns. So, flipping the possible signing of a DeRozan, and possibly even adding the 2020 first-round pick that was just acquired from Atlanta via Brooklyn would be a major acquisition and a much better use of resources.
On top of that, the Timberwolves could keep valuable assets such as young wings Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver, who have a lot of upside. Perhaps most importantly, they could keep Andrew Wiggins, a player who has had his best year as a pro this season and is set to only grow alongside KAT if the rest of the team around them is given a boost. He likely would be part of any deal for Russell, and in this scenario they could hang onto the former No. 1-overall pick.
Wiggins is currently averaging 22.4 points per game on 44.4 percent shooting from the floor and 33 percent on 3-point attempts. He is finally in a system that benefits him and his progression as a pro, so there is no rush to force him out of Minnesota despite the overly large contract.
The right trade and the right timing to do so is essential for the Timberwolves and could end with the Wolves as perennial playoff contenders in the near future. But that’s something to discuss for another day.