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Other Teams Reportedly Expect The Timberwolves To Try And Trade D’Angelo Russell

The Minnesota Timberwolves were one of the best stories in the NBA this season, but a hard-fought first round series loss to the Memphis Grizzlies showed where they still need to make improvements.

One of those areas is at point guard, where it became painfully apparent during the playoff run that they just did not have anyone who could calm things down and get them into sets in crunch time during their three fourth quarter meltdowns that cost them the series. The Timberwolves had the worst fourth quarter offense in this year’s postseason with a 91.3 offensive rating, shooting 36.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from three, and a constant theme of their losses was the offense crumbling into hero-ball, often from Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell.

The latter of those two had a particularly rough series, averaging just 12 points per game on 33.3 percent shooting from the field, and was relegated to the bench for the close of Game 6. Since arriving in Minnesota, Russell has shown flashes of brilliance, most notably his performance in the play-in win over the Clippers, but the inconsistency in maintaining that level has been a bit maddening, even if his overall averages when he’s been able to play for the Wolves have been good in the regular season.

As such, it appears that if the Wolves are going to shake things up this summer, Russell will be the odd man out from their core group alongside Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns. Marc Stein reported in his newsletter on Monday that the expectation around the league is that Minnesota will look to move Russell and his expiring $31 million salary this offseason.

Numerous rival teams expect the Wolves to try to trade Russell this offseason irrespective of Russell’s close relationship with Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns.

It makes sense that Russell would be the one chosen to move, as Edwards and Towns are very clearly 1a and 1b in Minnesota, and Russell doesn’t quite provide the ideal complement to those two now that Edwards has established himself as a lead-scorer type. It’s not that Russell isn’t a capable passer, as his 7.1 assists per game this season (and 6.7 per game in the playoffs) show, but it’s more that the Wolves could use a calming presence on both ends of the floor.

Where Patrick Beverley provides a boost of energy, Minnesota is in fairly desperate need of a steady hand who can stop those long droughts before they even really start. As to who may be available for Russell, that is still to be determined, but one would think a veteran guard will likely be on the wishlist for Minnesota (and more) and Russell certainly still has plenty of value for teams in need of some scoring punch, so there should be some suitors out there.