D’Angelo Russell trade grades: Timberwolves get their man; Warriors disappoint with return

first_imgTimberwolves 2021 pick protected to No. 3, and becomes unprotected in 2022, per sources. Minnesota kept pushing for Russell, who it has wanted since summer free agency and finally got the point guard Gerssson Rosas imagined pairing with KAT. https://t.co/kfDNvsdBHX— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 6, 2020MORE: Andre Iguodala trade analysisThe Timberwolves had reportedly been interested in Russell since last summer, wanting the guard to form a potent combination with Karl-Anthony Towns.Here are our initial grades for the trade:Timberwolves: AMinnesota desperately wanted Russell. It got Russell. That’s a big deal for a franchise so often criticized for getting almost everything wrong as it tries to capitalize on the immense talent of Towns.Russell is 23 years old and ready to be a star scorer for many seasons to come. He’s averaging 23.6 points per game this year, and he has experience helping turn around a franchise’s fortunes in Brooklyn. The pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop with Towns will be a beautiful sight. The duo is already tight-knit after developing a close friendship through the AAU circuit. Suns star Devin Booker is the third amigo in the friendship; if Minnesota ever manages to acquire him, fans will pass out from happiness.Andrew Wiggins is under a huge contract through 2022-23, and despite some growth this year, he was never a favorite of Minnesota given his inability to fully develop since entering the league. The first-round draft pick Minnesota gave up could hurt, but if the Timberwolves become a playoff team, it won’t matter.Warriors: C-Golden State had reportedly been intent on holding onto Russell until the summer unless it was blown away by a trade offer. Was this really a bid that blew the front office away? If so, that seems to reflect poorly on its judgement.Russell, acquired from the Nets last summer, was never given a real chance to play alongside Curry or Thompson. The Warriors will never know how explosive that trio could have been. Sure, Wiggins being a forward makes him a more natural fit in next year’s lineup. Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Green and perhaps 2020 NBA Draft prospect James Wiseman would be a tasty starting five. But Wiggins’ hefty contract limits the Warriors’ future flexibility, and there is no guarantee he will ever be better than Russell. Wiggins is in some respects just a better version of Harrison Barnes — an important roster piece, but often more frustrating than game-changing.The pick will be awesome if the Timberwolves are bad and if it coincides with a stacked draft class. Neither of those things are guaranteed. Should the pick be, say, No. 15, then this deal will be especially difficult to swallow for Golden State.Maybe the Warriors will surge all the way back to dominance with Curry and Thompson healthy next year, and Wiggins invigorated by a winning basketball team. But for now, it feels like an underwhelming return for their biggest trade chip. The Timberwolves and Warriors worked out a blockbuster trade just before the NBA deadline on Thursday afternoon, with D’Angelo Russell heading to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins and two future draft picks. Bench players Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans were also shipped to Minnesota in the deal.With Minnesota’s 2021 first-round draft pick (protected to No. 3) and a second-round selection, Golden State gains the means to smoothly rebuild its squad with young talent as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green age. Wiggins, meanwhile, likely provides a better short-term match alongside Curry and Thompson than Russell.last_img read more