D’Angelo Russell Trade Rumors: Timberwolves PG Could Be Dealt During 2022 NBA Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 23, 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

Trade buzz continues to grow around D'Angelo Russell.

According to NBA writer Dane Moore, there is a "50 percent chance" Russell is dealt this offseason, perhaps as early as Thursday night's NBA draft.

Dane Moore @DaneMooreNBA

I've been saying for the past month that I've heard it is over a 50% chance that D'Angelo Russell is traded this offseason.<br><br>Conversations with a few non-Timberwolves sources today suggest a Russell trade is now even more likely -- either tonight or the first week of July.

On Wednesday, The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski reported that the Timberwolves "have not come close on any trades involving Russell or any other player," though he added that "discussions are expected to evolve from theoretical to practical the closer it gets to the draft."

Russell offered a mixed bag for the Wolves last season.

On the one hand, he averaged 18.1 points and a career-high 7.1 assists per game, shooting 41.1 percent from the field but just 34 percent from the field. He's clearly a talented offensive player and one who helped the Timberwolves reach the postseason for just the second time in the past 18 years.

On the other hand, he was relegated to the third offensive option in Minnesota behind Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards, a role that took some getting used to for Russell. His streakiness was also an issue at times, and he struggled so much in the team's playoff series against the physical Memphis Grizzlies (12 PPG, 6.7 APG, 33.3 percent from the field) that he was benched for the last five minutes of the decisive Game 6.

The issue for Minnesota is, even with Russell entering the final year of his contract, moving him for pennies on the dollar while his value is trending in the wrong direction after a tough playoff series doesn't make much sense.

If they could find a splashy trade for a star—if Kyrie Irving decides to seek a sign-and-trade away from the Brooklyn Nets, for instance—moving on from Russell and other pieces would make sense.

But the Timberwolves can't backslide from last year's playoff appearance. Towns is in his prime. Edwards looked more than ready for the postseason stage against the Grizzlies.

Russell may not be the perfect fit, but he may end up being the team's best option next season nonetheless.