Exactly five weeks away from the NBA trade deadline, things are going to begin getting interesting around the NBA in terms of news and rumors.
From certain teams looking to upgrade talent to make a playoff push to certain players being in the final year of their contracts hearing their names in rumors, a lot is about to transpire in a very small amount of time.
Another key talking point always revolves around which players are and are not happy with their current situations/teams and on indication many like to speculate into the ground is why certain players unfollow teammates or their team on social media.
Recently, Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell was the latest player to be caught in the headlines of this action, as he unfollowed the Timberwolves on Instagram and then liked a mysterious post from Toronto Raptors’ guard Fred VanVleet talking about “betting on yourself.”
Now, this could just be a whole lot of nothing and completely meaningless, but D’Angelo Russell’s contract situation is definitely an interesting situation to discuss.
He is in the final year of his contract and making $31.3 million, which is a lot for a player that is not going to be an All-Star.
Russell is a fantastic player and still has a lot to give to whatever team he is on, but his fit in Minnesota has been in question ever since he arrived there and with Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards being the No. 1 and No. 2 options on this team interchangeably, where does that really leave D-Lo?
The Timberwolves may absolutely field offers for Russell ahead of this season’s trade deadline, especially since they have yet to hold serious conversations about extending his contract past this season.
While there is not a known market for Russell on the trade block right now, here are some teams who could look to pursue the former All-Star guard should he be made available.
Los Angeles Lakers
Of course, you cannot mention a somewhat big name on the trade block without bringing up the Los Angeles Lakers.
Look, Los Angeles is going to be that team at the deadline that nobody really wants to talk with, but they will have to anyway because they will not go away.
Minnesota would definitely not want to bring in Russell Westbrook, as it is hard to see where he fits into the mix with Towns and Edwards, so if the Lakers were to engage in conversations to bring back Russell, they would almost certainly need a third team involved.
Could that team be the San Antonio Spurs with assets like Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson going back to Minnesota for added depth?
Sure, this is a possibility that could be worked out involving some added draft assets on Los Angeles’ side of things, but the Lakers do not seem to want to move the only two draft picks they can trade in 2027 and 2029, plus would adding some role players at the expense of D’Angelo Russell really help the Timberwolves?
At this point, the Timberwolves are in trouble and if they are to be a real threat in the Western Conference, they will need to lock down their backcourt with a secondary scorer and primary playmaker.
D’Angelo Russell can certainly be this kind of player for them, but between his injury concerns and lack of overall production, it may be best to move on and try to replace him.
The Lakers need added scoring talent around LeBron James and Anthony Davis and since he is only 26-years-old, D’Angelo Russell is a player Los Angeles could bring back and begin to build with for years to come.
This is an organization that has made the playoffs just once in the last four seasons and while they could end up making it to the Play-In Tournament in the Eastern Conference, this team is still nowhere close to being an actual competitor in the postseason.
What will happen with Kyle Kuzma? Will the Wizards look to leverage their youth for win-now assets? Could Bradley Beal request out?
These are all valid questions pertaining to the Wizards right now and if they are looking to add talent once again like they did with Kristaps Porzingis ahead of the deadline a season ago, it would make sense for them to try and add talent in the backcourt.
Monte Morris has been great for them, as has Delon Wright coming off-the-bench, but adding a scorer and playmaker who can take pressure off of Beal will be vital for the future success of this franchise.
Not to mention, Tim Connelly, the current President of Basketball Operations for the Timberwolves, was quite fond of both Monte Morris and Will Barton, two players on the Wizards’ roster that could be dealt with other assets for a player like D’Angelo Russell, when he was a part of the Denver Nuggets‘ front-office.
There are not many high-level options on the trade block right now for the Wizards to possibly add and make a real push for the postseason, which is why taking advantage of an opportunity that presents itself involving D’Angelo Russell may be what this organization needs.
At this point in the year, it may be safe to say that Lonzo Ball is not coming back for the Chicago Bulls.
Maybe he will and prove many of us wrong, but not much good intel has come out of Ball’s knee injury and the Bulls have been struggling to find consistency this season at 17-21.
They have some good wins, but they also have some bad losses and while they have Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, it is hard to imagine that these three alone will be able to carry the Bulls into the playoff and potentially win a first-round series.
Being a middle-tier scoring and passing team, the Bulls need a playmaker on the outside that is not afraid to play off-the-ball either with LaVine and DeRozan being ball-dominant players.
D’Angelo Russell really is not that bad of a fit when you think about it for Chicago simply because he fits their current timeline.
Should things not work out, the Bulls could let Russell’s contract expire and they could begin to blow things up in the offseason.
At least trading for Russell gives them a fighting chance this season to try and turn things around.
The problem with pursuing him though is that the Bulls are currently right at the tax line this season and they really do not have a way of freeing up enough cap space to take on D’Angelo Russell’s contract without moving either Alex Caruso or Lonzo Ball, something Chicago may not be ready to do yet.
Streaming on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, The Fast Break Podcast takes you inside the league with the latest news, intel, rumors and interviews from those close to the action for all 30 teams. Be on the lookout for a new episodes every Friday.