NBA Trade Rumors: D'Angelo Russell, Other Moves 'Have Not Come Close' for T-Wolves

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 22, 2022

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 29: D'Angelo Russell #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles the ball against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first quarter of the game during Game Six of the Western Conference First Round at Target Center on April 29, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Grizzlies defeated the Timberwolves 114-106 to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals. 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. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
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It appears the Minnesota Timberwolves will be standing pat ahead of the 2022 NBA draft.

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported deals involving D'Angelo Russell and other players on the roster have "not come close" as Thursday's draft approaches. The Wolves are reportedly open to trading any player on the roster besides Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, with Russell being the most notable available player.

Seven years into his NBA career, Russell has essentially settled into who he is as a professional: a streaky, offense-first player with a propensity for brilliance and at-times overconfidence in his own skills. He averaged 18.1 points and a career-high 7.1 assists during the 2021-22 season, solid numbers that generally fall around his career norm.

Since leaving the Los Angeles Lakers after the 2016-17 season, Russell has averaged 20.4-25.8 points and 7.1-8.3 assists per 36 minutes while shooting between 41.1 percent and 43.4 percent from the field. Most advanced stats measure him as a net-negative defensive player, but he did post a solid 1.5 defensive win shares in 2021-22, a sign of an increased willingness as a defender.

From a salary standpoint, Russell is a significant overpay on his rookie max contract; he'll haul in $31.4 million next season, the final year of his deal. His impending free agency also throws a bit of a wrench into the Wolves' plans because he's eligible for an extension this summer.

Minnesota may want Russell back, but he'd likely be taking an eight-figure yearly pay cut on an extension. Russell may want to play out the 2022-23 season and hope to increase his market value after struggling in the Wolves' first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

What's more, re-signing Russell would also take Minnesota out of any potential major free-agent signings next summer. The team could carve out max-level cap space by allowing Russell and Patrick Beverley to walk in free agency and declining its option on Malik Beasley. The Wolves' lack of history in coaxing top free agents to Minneapolis may cause some level of pause on that strategy.

As it stands, there doesn't appear to be enough market interest in Russell to make a trade worthwhile ahead of the draft.