D'Angelo Russell Trade Rumors: Timberwolves Expected to Explore Deal by Rival Teams

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 2, 2022

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 26: D'Angelo Russell #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates against the Memphis Grizzlies during Round 1 Game 5 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2022 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

D'Angelo Russell struggled during the Minnesota Timberwolves' first-round playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, and his time with the team may be coming to an end as well.

NBA insider Marc Stein reported "numerous rival teams" believe Minnesota will look to trade the guard this offseason even though he is close with big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Russell will be entering the final season of his contract and is slated to make $31.4 million in 2022-23.

While Russell played below expectations in the series against the Grizzlies, potential suitors still have plenty to like about him. 

For one, Russell's expiring contract could give a team more financial freedom beyond 2022-23 if it decides against keeping him long term. He is also only 26 years old and should be in his prime for the foreseeable future.

Scoring has also never been an issue for Russell, who has averaged 17.7 points per game during his career for the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors and Timberwolves. He posted as many as 23.1 points per game in 2019-20 and averaged 18.1 points per game this past season.

He can shoot from three-point range and facilitate as a primary ball-handler, as evidenced by the career-best 7.1 assists per game he tallied this past season.

However, Russell averaged only 12.0 points per game and shot 33.3 percent from the field during the loss to the Grizzlies. He also had also multiple key turnovers, and he was benched down the stretch of Game 6 as Minnesota's season came to an end.

The Timberwolves have a franchise cornerstone in Anthony Edwards, and trading Russell could open up an opportunity for the 2020 No. 1 overall pick to handle the ball more and be an even bigger piece of the offense.

That could motivate them to explore Russell trades this offseason as they look to construct a roster capable of advancing deeper into the Western Conference playoffs.