NBA trade deadline: Warriors send D'Angelo Russell to Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins, two picks

The trade talks between the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves regarding D'Angelo Russell appeared to be dead just a few days ago, after the Timberwolves declined to meet the Warriors' asking price. But they were revived on Thursday following some additional moves by Minnesota, and now the deal has reportedly gone through. 

The Warriors have agreed to send Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman to the Timberwolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2022 second-round pick. 

Minnesota's interest in Russell has been well known ever since it took him on a private helicopter ride over Los Angeles along with Karl-Anthony Towns and team executives last summer. Even when Russell ended up going to the Warriors, there were immediate discussions about whether the Wolves would try and trade for him. Now, they have, acquiring their point guard of the future and pairing Towns with one of his best friends in the league. 

While finally getting a strong point guard was a primary reason for pulling off this trade, the impact it has on Towns' happiness can't be overlooked. Currently on a 13-game losing streak, the Wolves have been terrible this season, and Towns himself hasn't won a game since late November. They've fallen to 15-35, which is barely ahead of the Warriors for last place in the Western Conference, and Towns voiced his frustration following their loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. 

"I've been losing for a long time," Towns said. "I'm not trying to do that shit anymore. So every possession means a lot. You obviously see my patience running low with a lot of things." When your star player begins talking like that in the press, it's a nervous time for any franchise, but especially one in a small market, and the Wolves acted fast to try and placate Towns. 

In doing so they finally moved on from Wiggins, though it was pretty clear at this point that the ship has sailed on him being a true star. A really strong start to the season provided some hope that Wiggins had turned a corner and become a more complete player, but over the past few months he has reverted to his old form as a high-volume, inefficient scorer. In addition, they gave up a first-round pick -- top-three protected this year, unprotected in 2022 -- and there's a chance that comes back to bite them, but they're clearly banking on this draft class not being all that impressive. 

As for the Warriors, they continue their wheeling and dealing which started in the summer when Kevin Durant moved on to join the Brooklyn Nets. They took Russell back in a sign-and-trade, but it was always clear that was a matter of not wanting to lose Durant for nothing rather than loving the point guard. He wasn't a long-term fit with the team once Steph Curry and Klay Thompson get healthy, and trading him was always likely. 

Getting Wiggins in return, however, wasn't an outcome many people expected, and it will be interesting to see how that fit works. It's clear he can score, but he needs the ball in his hands to do so, and isn't a very strong 3-point shooter -- 33.1 percent overall from downtown, and only 36 percent on catch-and-shoot attempts. Perhaps the Warriors will allow him to run the second unit and provide scoring when Curry and Thompson sit. 

They also add another top draft pick to go along with their own, which could end up being the No. 1 overall pick with the way their season is going. While this has been a nightmare season, they're in solid position to regroup in the summer and move forward as a contender once again next season. Curry and Thompson should be healthy, they'll see what they have in Wiggins and could have two top-five picks in this year's draft. 

Overall this is a fascinating deal for both teams, and it will be very interesting to see how it plays out. 

NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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