Brooklyn all-star guard D’Angelo Russell was indeed reportedly traded to a Western Conference team, it just wasn’t the Timberwolves.
Russell is heading to Golden State as part of a sign-and-trade deal, according to multiple reports.
That’s a major blow to the Timberwolves, who had targeted Russell as a top free-agent target, but apparently couldn’t pull off a deal.
Minnesota, who reportedly had a meeting in place with Russell on Sunday night, had the advantage of having a pre-existing friendship in place between Russell and all-star center Karl-Anthony Towns.
But aside from getting the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NBA draft to commit to Minnesota, the Wolves had to find a way to clear enough cap space to make a deal work.
That’s a tall task, considering the robust contracts of Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng are not easy movable.
For one reason or another, the deal didn’t happen. Instead, the Warriors — the NBA’s most-recent dynasty — stepped in. Golden State reportedly lost Kevin Durant to Brooklyn on Sunday, but gained an all-star guard who can help carry the offensive load alongside Steph Curry next season while Klay Thompson rehabs his torn ACL.
For the Timberwolves, there are still free agents left on the board, and Minnesota still has the mid-level exception at its disposal — worth roughly $9.2 million.
But any big-game hunting Gersson Rosas and Co. had planned for this offseason just got far more difficult.
VETERANS MOVING ON
Derrick Rose agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal with Detroit, according to multiple reports. Rose spent the last season-plus in Minnesota on a minimum-salary deal.
Taj Gibson signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Knicks, a source confirmed to the Pioneer Press. The forward spent the last two years in Minnesota, serving as a valuable presence both in the rotation and the Wolves’ locker room.