D'Angelo Russell Rumors: T-Wolves Tried Sign-and-Trade Involving Andrew Wiggins

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Minnesota Timberwolves' Andrew Wiggins plays against the Dallas Mavericks in an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

As part of their pursuit of free-agent point guard D'Angelo Russell, the Minnesota Timberwolves approached the Brooklyn Nets about a potential sign-and-trade that included Andrew Wiggins, according to Darren Wolfson of SKOR North.

Wolfson added the discussion "never got even an inch off the ground" in terms of working toward an actual agreement.

ESPN.com's Zach Lowe said on his podcast that the Timberwolves "believe they have a pathway to get D'Angelo Russell" (h/t RealGM).

This past season indicated how far Minnesota have sunk, going from winning 47 games and making the playoffs in 2017-18 to a 36-46 record and finishing 11th in the Western Conference. The team needs to improve its supporting cast around Karl-Anthony Towns in order to be a postseason contender.

The 23-year-old averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists and was a finalist for the league's Most Improved Player award. He'd be an upgrade at point guard for Minnesota over 31-year-old Jeff Teague.

The Wolves' lack of salary-cap space is the obvious impediment to potentially landing Russell. Even if they renounced all of their cap holds, they'd still be $7.7 million over the cap, per Spotrac.

Trading Wiggins is the clearest way to gain financial flexibility since he's going to make $27.5 million in 2019-20. Few teams are likely to line up to absorb Wiggins' contract, given what he has produced.

The 24-year-old averaged 18.1 points and shot 41.2 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from beyond the arc. He's not an efficient scorer and has never finished with a defensive rating lower than 107.9, per NBA.com.

When he offered Wiggins the five-year, $147 million extension in 2017, Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor acknowledged the team would be paying the 2014 No. 1 overall draft pick so much money with the expectation he'd take his game to the next level.

That hasn't happened, and based on Wolfson's report, offloading Wiggins anytime soon won't be easy.