MINNEAPOLIS — Brooklyn all-star guard D’Angelo Russell was indeed reportedly traded to a Western Conference team on Sunday night, it just wasn’t the Minnesota 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.
WOLVES LOSE ROSE, GIBSON
Derrick Rose is hoping to prove last season wasn’t a last gasp toward the end of a career that once appeared destined for the Hall of Fame.
The Detroit Pistons apparently will be his next stop.
ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday that Rose, 30, will sign a two-year, $15 million deal with the Pistons to join Reggie Jackson as the team’s point guards.
Coming off a resurgent season with the Timberwolves, the 2011 NBA MVP receives a raise from his bargain $2.1 million salary last season.
Rose will take up most of the Pistons’ limited resources with only three possible roster spots remaining. The Pistons will use most of the $9.2 million mid-level exception to sign him.
Teams can’t comment on signings during the free-agency negotiation period, which ends Saturday.
Rose, a former client of Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem when Tellem was an agent, won the MVP award in 2011 when he averaged 25 points per game and 7.7 assists in leading the Chicago Bulls to a 60-22 record. They lost to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals.
Rose played well for the Timberwolves last season, scoring 18 points per game and shooting 37 percent from 3-point range, a career high. He turns 31 on Oct. 4.
The Wolves lost another player Sunday when veteran forward Taj Gibson agreed to a deal with the New York Knicks. Priority Sports announced on Twitter that Gibson had agreed to a two-year contract.
The rugged Gibson played the last two seasons for Minnesota, averaging 11.5 points. The 6-foot-9 forward spent most of his career with the Chicago Bulls.
BUTLER TRADED TO HEAT
Pat Riley kept swinging when it came to free agents; this time he connected with a target linked to the Miami Heat since the start of last season.
Unable to trade for Jimmy Butler at the start of last season while Butler was with the Timberwolves, Riley closed out a sign-and-trade agreement for Butler with the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.
In the transaction, Josh Richardson was dealt to the 76ers, with Goran Dragic moved to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Heat had to not only come up with enough to sate Butler, who was eligible for a four-year, $144 million maximum package from the Heat, but get him to leave more than $40 million on the table from the five-year, $188 million contract he was eligible to sign with the 76ers.