The hints are getting hard to deny.
In his summary of free agency Saturday morning, Zach Lowe wrote this: “Minnesota has sniffed around [D’Angelo] Russell, though the Nets have no interest in Jeff Teague on the other end of any sign-and-trade, sources say.”
This followed a report out of Minnesota two days ago. According to Darren Wolfson of SKOR North, a respected media group, the Timberwolves approached the Nets about another potential sign-and-trade that would have sent Russell to Minny for Andrew Wiggins, the 6’8” shooting guard with a contract that has four years and $122 million left on his deal. That apparently went nowhere fast.
Now, Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reports that DLo is on his way to Los Angeles Sunday for a meeting with Timberwolves officials.
Leading the delegation: Russell’s good friend Karl-Anthony Towns who was with him last weekend in Metuchen, NJ, where DLo ran his basketball camp (and Towns went to high school.)
Moreover, Haynes colleague Keith Smith tweeted that he’d been told Russell’s team would not have set a meeting with the Timberwolves without assurances team could clear the necessary cap space to sign Russell.
Minnesota has made it clear, Smith wrote, that they believe they can get to the $27.25 million max space necessary to sign Russell.
Right now, Minnesota has no cap space and is burdened by a number of big seemingly immovable deals, not just Wiggins and Teague.
So what about the sign-and-trade option? S&T’s are difficult to organize under the new CBA. There haven’t been any in the past two years.
Nate Duncan, the free lance capologist, thinks one way to get a deal done would be to engage a third team who would accept some of those bad deals the Nets wouldn’t want. Brooklyn and would presumably wind up with picks. The Timberwolves have all their first and second rounders going forward.
Duncan wrote that if Minnesota sent Teague and his $19 million contract to a third team as part of a Russell S&T, the T’Wolves could give Russell a starting salary of $24 million and a four-year total of $103.2 million. If as Smith reported Minny wanted to max out DLo, They’d need to send out $21.72 million, requiring then to add young players Keita Bates-Diop and Josh Okogie.
The Nets have been prepared to simply renounce Russell if they get Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. They’d certainly be open to get some value in return.