Clippers Looking Hard at D’Angelo Russell; Wolves Bullish on Naz Reid

Photo: David Berding - Getty Images

The NBA trade deadline is nearly upon us (Thursday, Feb. 9) and talks are heating up across the league, especially after Kyrie Irving was dealt from Brooklyn to the Dallas over the weekend. What does that mean for the Minnesota Timberwolves?

With Irving off the market, the Los Angeles Clippers are turning their gaze to other ball-handling guards. And one guy who really has their attention, according to Marc Stein in his latest “This League Uncut” podcast, is D’Angelo Russell (25:30 mark – transcribed below).

“From what I’m told, the Clippers have been looking HARD at D’Angelo Russell. I think they have interest in Naz Reid, as well. But all the signals from Minnesota have been that Naz Reid is not going to be moved.”

Marc Stein – This League Uncut Podcast
Is D’Angelo Russell to Clippers Feasible?

Clippers’ players like Terrence Mann, John Wall, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard have all been linked to trade proposals for Kyrie Irving and others. But there would likely be a third team involved, should they choose to deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves for D’Angelo Russell.

See, one main reason why the Wolves are inclined to deal Russell is in order to retain his maximum salary cap slot. With Anthony Edwards coming due for a maximum contract, Minnesota is poised to become one of the only teams in the NBA allowed to have FOUR maximum contracts on their roster (allowable limit is normally THREE). In theory, that would allow them to stack more talent than other teams.

But if they allow DLo’s contract to expire or trade him without getting another max player back, they will lose that bonus maximum salary slot. Dane Moore explains the situation in understandable detail in a recent episode of his podcast.

The Clippers have two max salary players on roster but they aren’t trading either of Kawhi Leonard or Paul George to Minnesota for D’Angelo Russell. If this deal is going to get done, another team will have to be involved. Maybe the Toronto Raptors, for example, who are trying to unload Kyle Lowry’s max salary.

Naz Reid isn’t going anywhere?

The last part of Marc Stein’s mention of the Timberwolves is also interesting. With Karl-Anthony Towns returning from injury sometime in the next month or two, this roster has way too many capable big men (KAT, Gobert, Reid, Garza, Knight).

Many teams are interested in acquiring Naz Reid, which would help shake that logjam. But Reid, at times, looks like an ascending star so Connelly has been hesitant to deal him. If the offer for Naz isn’t a king’s ransom, Minnesota might just keep him.

If so, how do they get him back under contract, something they’re reportedly trying to do (per Darren Wolfson) and do they look to move younger pieces like Luka Garza or Nate Knight for whatever they can get?

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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