The Golden State Warriors have officially traded D’Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, a protected 2021 first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick. The Timberwolves will also receive Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman, the teams announced on Thursday.
The Warriors have acquired Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 first round draft pick (top 3 protected), and a 2021 second round draft pick from the Timberwolves in exchange for Jacob Evans III, D’Angelo Russell, and Omari Spellman. pic.twitter.com/ozBrDQJTcc
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) February 6, 2020
Russell, whom Golden State acquired via sign-and-trade with Brooklyn last offseason, is averaging a career-high 23.6 points along with 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds. This marks Russell’s fourth team since being drafted second overall in 2015. An All-Star last season with the Nets, Russell now joins good friend Karl-Anthony Towns on the Timberwolves, giving the franchise a young guard-center duo locked into long-term contracts.
Wiggins, meanwhile, will look for a fresh start in San Francisco after failing to live up to the hype of being drafted first overall in 2014. The 24-year-old forward is in the second year of a five-year max contract, averaging 22.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 3.7 apg.
Golden State has been decimated by injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors sit in last place in the Western Conference — just four games behind the Wolves — but the prospect of their stars’ respective returns and a potential top-four pick this summer could make for a quick turnaround.
The Timberwolves, who have lost 12 straight games, have bottomed out in their first year under president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas as he attempts to remake the roster for a faster-paced, 3-point-heavy offense as directed by rookie coach Ryan Saunders.
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 6, 2020
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From NBA.com’s Michael C. Wright
Main Takeaway: There’s always the question of which team won a trade once it’s consummated, and this transaction could prove to be a win-win for both parties.
Impact on Warriors: There was always the question of how Russell would fit with Curry, because the former just isn’t tailor-made for Golden State’s style of play. While Russell is averaging a career-high 23.6 points per game, the Warriors needed a more natural fit, plus they’re also trying to restock the cupboard for more runs at a championship; a goal aided somewhat by the picks they’ll receive. By sending off the Evans and Spellman contracts, Golden State also puts itself in position to avoid the luxury tax, which also would take them out of the repeater tax next season.
The top overall pick in 2014, Wiggins has largely been disappointing over his first six seasons. But he’s just 24 years old, and Golden State has the developmental personnel, coaching staff and veteran leadership in the locker room to resurrect Wiggins’ career as a potential starting wing for a revamped Warriors roster.
Impact on Timberwolves: The free-falling Timberwolves, with two double-digit losing streaks since the start of December — needed a young, dynamic threat to pair alongside Towns, and that’s exactly what they receive in this deal for Russell, who is shooting 43% from the floor and 37.4% from deep, in addition to dishing 6.2 assists per game. The Timberwolves had long coveted Russell, and simultaneously were able to shed the contract of Wiggins, who never quite lived up to his promise.
Besides that, Russell and Towns are good friends, which should help the pair mesh quickly. Towns had been pretty vocal lately about his disappointment in how Minnesota’s season is going. But if you remember, Minnesota pursued Russell in free agency with Towns heading up the recruitment, before the Timberwolves ultimately lost him to the Warriors. Russell’s ability to create and score dovetails with the style of play in Minnesota envisioned by Saunders and Rosas, while also keeping Towns happy.