The Timberwolves might not be able to obtain D’Angelo Russell before the NBA trade deadline arrives at 2 p.m. on Thursday, but reports indicate they will continue to try to land the point guard until the last minute.
Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Monday that the Wolves and Golden State Warriors remain engaged in trade discussions regarding Russell but there are obstacles to overcome.
So what is the main issue?
The Warriors want what The Athletic terms “significant draft pick compensation” from the Wolves, but Minnesota president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas isn’t willing to give up the team’s unprotected 2020 first-round pick.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic previously reported that the Wolves have “dangled” Andrew Wiggins to the Warriors in the Russell talks but that probably isn’t going to get Golden State to make a deal. Wiggins has underachieved for much of his career and has three years and $94.7 million left on his contract after the 2019-20 season.
The Ringer reported Monday night that a three-way deal was discussed that would have sent Robert Covington to Houston, Clint Capela to Atlanta and Brooklyn’s 2020 first-round pick from Atlanta to Minnesota. But the Warriors turned down Minnesota’ offer of its own first-round pick, along with Brooklyn’s, and the talks were put on pause.
The Wolves pursued Russell in free agency last offseason in hopes of pairing him with his good friend Karl-Anthony Towns. Russell, however, decided to sign a four-year, $117 million deal with the Warriors. He is averaging a team-leading 23.8 points with 6.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds in 32 games this season.
Golden State has been to the NBA Finals each of the past five seasons and won three titles, but with Steph Curry (broken hand) having played in only four games and Klay Thompson (torn ACL) none this season, the Warriors (12-39) are at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The Timberwolves (15-34) are next to last and have lost 12 in a row.
Russell, who will turn 24 on Feb. 23, did not play for the Warriors on Monday night against Washington because of a quadriceps injury.
The Athletic reported that the New York Knicks also have interest in Russell — he was an All-Star last season while playing for the Brooklyn Nets — but Golden State could decide to not move him at the deadline and instead make a trade this offseason.