Would the Timberwolves make this trade with the Wizards?
Now for the even more important question: would the Minnesota Timberwolves make this trade with the Wizards? On the surface, it seems insulting to trade a “max” player for three depth pieces, but Russell is both not playing at a star level and is a pending free agent.
The Wolves also have a major need for depth pieces. Their five starters, plus Kyle Anderson, all have a positive Estimated Plus-Minus on the season. The rest of the bench, however, is a tire fire, with Taurean Prince, Austin Rivers, Jaylen Nowell, Jordan McLaughlin, and Bryn Forbes all significant negatives.
Monte Morris is a low-end starting point guard, perfectly fine as a lower-usage option alongside a ball-dominant wing like Anthony Edwards. Delon Wright is a high-end backup and long defender who can give the Wolves a different look. Will Barton is having a tough season but has a track record of being a good contributor on the wing. None of these three players are special, but they would all be an upgrade in their rotation spots.
If not this type of trade, it’s hard to find many other options around the league for D’Angelo Russell to land. Perhaps that is an incentive to keep him and try to re-sign him this offseason if his market will be depressed, but if they want a change and to reconfigure things for this year’s stretch run to get back into the playoff mix, perhaps adding depth is the way to go.
Verdict: It’s not exciting, but the Wolves have to at least think about it. In the end, however, this is probably a pass from Minnesota.