The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the most intriguing teams in the NBA this season. Minnesota made a big offseason trade for star center Rudy Gobert, putting together an odd pairing with Karl Anthony Towns.
They sit in 9th place in the Western Conference at 25-25 and have had a difficult route to the postseason in the highly competitive conference. Until Towns is back on the floor, we won’t know if he will establish chemistry with Gobert to make a playoff push.
The Timberwolves have a decent roster, but the odd pairing with a ton of salary allocated to them makes it tough to compete in the West. They also have D’Angelo Russell on a big deal, taking up more of their cap space. Anthony Edwards is a great young player, and he is eligible for an extension this offseason. The young star will likely receive a max contract, tying up more of the Timberwolves’ money. Figuring out how they want to build will be crucial over the next few weeks, as the trade deadline can help them start. While they won’t be able to completely retool, Minnesota could make some moves to help them for the offseason.
With that said, here is one player the Timberwolves must move ahead of the 2023 NBA trade deadline.
While Russell is a good player, he is the player that Minnesota should move on from. Russell is in the last year of his deal, making $31 million this season. The 26-year-old guard is averaging 17.6 points per game along with 6.2 assists, shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three.
He is a good third or fourth option on a team and a solid playmaker. However, his deal is big, and his recent comments make it a smart move to move him if possible. As an impending free agent, Russell could leave for nothing while Minnesota could try and get value in return now.
Russell told Yahoo Sports, You either take advantage of me and my ability, or f*** up the opportunity with me,” “It’s as simple as that.”
Although Russell isn’t at the star level he was with the Brooklyn Nets, a team that needs a point guard could be interested. It comes down to whether they are willing to take the risk, as he could leave in free agency. If a team feels confident that they could re-sign Russell, there could be some teams interested.
For the Timberwolves, it would allow them to evaluate what they need to put around Edwards, Towns, and Gobert. They could also get some pieces to help them retool and still make a push to make the playoffs this year. Although Minnesota isn’t a contender in the West this season, a good offseason could help them get in the conversation. The West is wide open right now, and it’s time for teams to be aggressive and make a push.
Trading Russell doesn’t mean they would be forfeiting the season, as they would still have the talent to make the playoffs.
The Timberwolves are locked into the Gobert-Towns experiment, and they should do their best to build around them. Trading Russell could help them begin that plan and start retooling their roster.
Minnesota has an interesting situation ahead of them. It will be interesting to see what they do with the February 9th trade deadline approaching.