The Minnesota Timberwolves may have failed to acquire D’Angelo Russell in the 2019 NBA free agency period, but they still haven’t given up with their hopes of pairing the All-Star point guard with the face of the franchise, Karl-Anthony Towns. Though Russell is under contract until the 2022-23 season, most people don’t see him as part of the Golden State Warriors’ long-term future, especially with the presence of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on their roster. As of now, Russell is among the players who are expected to be moved before the February trade deadline.
Once Russell becomes officially available on the trade market, the Timberwolves will likely do everything they can to add him to their roster. According to Ryan Heckman of Fansided’s Da Windy City, the Timberwolves could acquire Russell by engaging in a three-team deal with the Warriors and the Chicago Bulls.
In the proposed trade deal, the Timberwolves would get Russell, the Warriors would receive Zach LaVine and a 2020 first-round pick, while the Bulls would get Gorgui Dieng, Josh Okogie, and a 2021 first-round pick. The Timberwolves, Warriors, and the Bulls would have to wait until mid-December to push forward with the deal since Russell just signed a new contract in the past summer’s free agency period.
However, if the trade becomes a reality, Heckman believes that it will help all the three NBA teams in filling up the needs to improve on their roster.
“This deal doesn’t necessarily help the Warriors compete at this very moment, without Curry and Thompson. But, if they can at least tread water until Curry comes back, they could sneak into the playoffs. Not only that, but they have a first-round pick to play with again — and picks are something the Warriors do not have many of right now. The Minnesota Timberwolves, meanwhile, finally get their guy. Over the last several months, rumors had swirled of Russell being the guy they covet most. This move gets them their franchise point guard, as well as clears out the contract of Gorgui Dieng.”
The deal will likely reap benefits for the Timberwolves. Though they would be giving up Okogie and two future first-round selections in the process, it would enable them to acquire an All-Star caliber point guard in Russell and unload Dieng’s contract. Meanwhile, LaVine would undeniably help the Warriors remain competitive while Curry and Thompson are recovering from injuries.
However, like Russell, it remains unknown if LaVine could be part of the Warriors’ long-term future, especially knowing that he plays the same position as Thompson. For the Bulls, Heckman believes that the deal would only make sense if they are already committed to building around big men Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. Okogie would be a perfect fit with the timeline of Markkanen and Carter Jr. while the future first-round pick would enable the Bulls to add another young and promising talent to their roster.