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Minnesota Timberwolves expected to pursue D’Angelo Russell trade by Feb. 9

D'Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves acquired D’Angelo Russell in 2019 with the hope of building a perennial playoff contender around the All-Star guard and Karl-Anthony Towns. Three seasons later, Minnesota is reportedly looking for ways to move on from Russell.

Minnesota’s 26-year-old point guard arrived with plenty of fanfare. He averaged 21.7 points per game in his first 12 starts with the Timberwolves and the team reached the NBA playoffs in 2022.

However, the franchise began losing patience with Russell in November. He was benched by coach Chris Finch multiple times, with his defense and mental mistakes proving costly. With Russell now poised to become one of the top NBA free agents this summer, Minnesota is prepared to move on.

Related: Dallas Mavericks linked to D’Angelo Russell

According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, many rival NBA executives are expecting the Timberwolves to pursue moving Russell before the trade deadline. The Miami Heat are reportedly among the teams who have talked to Minnesota about its disgruntled guard.

While the Timberwolves could try and re-sign their starting guard, negotiations between the two sides have yielded little progress. With an extension seemingly off the table, the likelihood of a trade is increasing.

  • D’Angelo Russell contract: $31.377 million salary (2022-’23), 2023 free agent

With Anthony-Towns still sidelined indefinitely by a Grade 2 calf strain, Minnesota is looking for help wherever it can find it. Entering Saturday, the Timberwolves held the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, leading the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder by only one game.

Related: D’Angelo Russell on Miami Heat’s radar

For a franchise that paid a significant price to acquire Rudy Gobert, taking an all-in approach on its current core, Minnesota has already fallen short of its own expectations. If a trade doesn’t materialize by the deadline, the Timberwolves will likely need to re-evaluate their roster with limited trade assets to fix their problems in the summer.