Timberwolves, Knicks reportedly still interested in D’Angelo Russell trade

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Every source I have talked to said that Golden State is serious: They want to see what a D'Angelo Russell and Stephen Curry backcourt looks like. That’s something they could see over the final month of the season, with Curry targeting a March return. That would mean keeping Russell with the Warriors past Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

That has not stopped the Russell trade rumors.

Minnesota — a suitor for Russell last summer — and the Knicks remain interested, reports Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

With the deadline looming on Thursday, the Warriors and Timberwolves remain engaged in trade conversations centered around D’Angelo Russell, league sources told The Athletic…

So far in the Warriors-Timberwolves talks, Golden State would only consider a deal that has significant draft pick compensation as part of any Minnesota package, according to league sources. As a team currently in a rebuild, the Timberwolves are reluctant to sacrifice too much of their own draft capital in deals, including one for Russell…

The Knicks have also registered interest in Russell and discussed potential packages, league sources said. But the Warriors could choose to hold onto him until at least this summer to see if more deals materialize when they would no longer be hard capped.

That last sentence is the real key. When the Warriors agreed to a sign-and-trade for Russell last summer — a smart move to get an All-Star back for Kevin Durant — it hard-capped Golden State for the season. The Warriors can’t take on salary right now, they are bumping up against that cap.

Do the Warriors want to see Russell and Curry together? Sure. Why not. They’d love to get Klay Thompson in that mix, too (although that almost certainly would mean keeping Russell on the roster through next summer). However, the reality is the Warriors can be far more creative and make a far more interesting trade next summer for Russell when they can take on more salary. While the Warriors are already into the tax next season by a few million, the new Chase Center is printing money for ownership and allows them to pay the tax and still turn a profit.

Russell, who has battled injury issues this season, is averaging 23.8 points and 6.3 assists per game this season for the Warriors.

There will be a lot of Russell rumors between now and Thursday, but if he gets traded July is far more likely than February.