The Timberwolves just traded Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham to the Hawks for Allen Crabbe – a curious move for Minnesota.
Just what are the Timberwolves doing?
Perhaps still trying to acquire a oft-rumored target, D'Angelo Russell.
Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic:
New team president Gersson Rosas and the rest of his front office have been actively pursuing deals on a number of fronts to try to remake the roster to better fit their vision for the team moving forward, league sources told The Athletic. That includes intensifying their pursuit of Golden State Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell. Discussions have yielded no traction to this point, league sources said.
Minnesota tried to sign Russell last summer. From the moment he arrived in Golden State in a sign-and-trade for Kevin Durant, Russell has appeared in trade rumors. The assumption was the Warriors were just trying to recoup value for Durant however they could.
Russell is an odd fit with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson when those guards are healthy. But Golden State seemingly isn’t rushing to solve that dilemma.
The Timberwolves would welcome Russell. He’s a good young player and friend of franchise player Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Teague deal slightly trimmed Minnesota’s payroll and opened a roster spot, which are usually useful in facilitating future trades. But unlike Teague, the newly acquired Crabbe can’t be aggregated in another trade. That’s a major obstacle when trying to acquire a max-salaried player like Russell.
How will the Timberwolves send out enough salary to match Russell’s?
Robert Covington is an obvious trade candidate. But the 3-and-D forward could help many teams this season, a lost year for the Warriors. It seems his value would be higher elsewhere, though Golden State could land Covington – who has two additional years on his contract – in preparation for next season.
Minnesota would have to send out much more salary than just Covington’s, though. Towns isn’t going anywhere. Andrew Wiggins and Gorgui Dieng have negative-value contracts – especially for a team already facing the luxury tax like the Warriors.
Though it’s possible to construct a deal without it, Teague’s expiring contract would have been quite useful in trading for Russell.
Just how are is Minnesota intensifying its pursuit of Russell? This report is vague. It sounds more like the Timberwolves are just trying to show they’re actively seeking upgrades.
I’d put much more stock into the part about them not getting anywhere.