Trading D’Angelo Russell is an Option, Not a Necessity

PHOTO: JEFF WHEELER - STAR TRIBUNE

We knew that the Minnesota Timberwolves were going to shop D’Angelo Russell this offseason. What we didn’t know, is whether or not a guy like D’Angelo Russell does his own shopping. Now, both are confirmed.

Wolves, Russell Both Shopping

Because soon after Kevin O’Connor (The Ringer) wrote, in his latest NBA Mock Draft, that the Wolves are actively shopping DLo; Russell tweeted that he was out shopping too. He deleted the tweet an hour later.

D’Angelo Russell is being shopped around, so it makes sense for the Timberwolves to target a shot-creator with this selection. TyTy and Karl-Anthony Towns could make for a lethal pick-and-roll pairing, and with Anthony Edwards resembling a superstar in the playoffs (and in Hustle) Minnesota would be equipped with a dynamic offense. Whatever Russell would return in a trade could only bolster their roster even more.

Kevin O’Connor – The Ringer

Unless this was the most coincidental social media post of all time, Russell sent this out in reaction to O’Connor’s “report” and I can’t imagine he was surprised. Russell is “hyper-aware” of what’s being said about him around the league, as Jon Krawczynski explained on KFAN Monday afternoon.

It’s more likely that DLo was trying to have some fun with how this was tagged as “news” by outlets around the internet. We’ve known Russell was going to be shopped this offseason since the Wolves were booted from the postseason. Probably before.

“Shopping” Shouldn’t Mean “Sold”

New President of Basketball Operations, Tim Connelly, should absolutely shop D’Angelo Russell and he should jump at an opportunity to unload him, if it helps the Minnesota Timberwolves get to that next level. But if that opportunity doesn’t present itself, then keep him.

The objective next season is to take another step forward, as a franchise. Climb out of the play-in tournament and win a playoff series or two. That objective can be accomplished with or without D’Angelo Russell and that’s how the Wolves front office should be approaching the trade market, when shopping him.

It’s true, Russell was bad in that 1st round matchup vs the Memphis Grizzlies. But without him, the Wolves wouldn’t have been playing in that series at all. DLo was streaky last season, but he was a plus player. There isn’t a person who watched them play on a regular basis who would argue that.

Trip Down Memory Lane

When Karl-Anthony Towns failed to show up for the play-in game vs the Los Angeles Clippers, it was D’Angelo Russell who rose to the occasion, scoring 29 points (10/18), 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Anthony Edwards had a huge game too, but they don’t win without Russell coming to KAT’s rescue.

DLo’s contract has just one season left on it. At that time, the Minnesota Timberwolves can unload him, without taking on another over-valued max deal. So if a trade that makes sense presents itself, then pull the trigger. If not, there are worse 2022-23 realities the Wolves could live in than one that includes another season of being married to D’Angelo Russell.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan