The rumors started up within hours of D’Angelo Russell shockingly reaching an agreement to join the Golden State Warriors. The newly-minted All-Star hadn’t even had time to try on his new jersey - his third in five seasons - when talks swirled of the Warriors wanting to flip him.
Russell, for his part, hasn’t shied away from the rumors and reports, and seems to be taking things one day at a time, with a smile on his face. And the Warriors, for their part, have denied the intentions to flip Russell - at least kind of.
Golden State seems to be moving forward with Russell, rather than actively pursuing ways to turn his contract into something else. But they’re undoubtedly keeping one eye on the market at all times. It’s why they actually pushed to give the point guard a maximum contract, so his dollars would line up with another star in a potential trade.
Russell has trade value, and his fit next to fellow guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson is worth wondering about. For the right price, it seems safe to assume that the Warriors would let him go.
At least one team is curious about that right price. In a Thursday report, Jon Krawczynski and Shams Charania of The Athletic revealed that the Minnesota Timberwolves are “intensifying their pursuit” of Russell. With that said, it appears that Golden State is uninterested in any package that Minnesota would put together.
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. So far, Golden State has been inclined to keep Russell unless it is blown away by an offer.
Minnesota’s interest in Russell is neither surprising, nor new. The team has been in pursuit of a lethal ballhandler for quite some time, and heavily recruited Russell in free agency over the summer. Many believed the Timberwolves to be on the verge of signing Russell when the Warriors swooped in with a max contract sign-and-trade offer.
Furthermore, Minnesota is frantically trying to make their organization look successful and appealing to young star center Karl-Anthony Towns, before he gets fed up and demands out. Russell and Towns are very close friends, and a pairing of the two star buddies would go a long way towards keeping Towns happy on and off the court in Minnesota.
But for now, it seems unlikely. The Warriors need a huge package in order to trade Russell, and the Wolves only have one asset that would fit that package: Towns. And that ain’t happening.
In all likelihood, Russell will stay in the Bay Area until at least the summer, when the team will have more flexibility in exploring trades.