The Minnesota Timberwolves are among the teams that are said to have interest in Ben Simmons, but apparently there is a limit to how much they are willing to spend.
The Timberwolves have no intention of including D’Angelo Russell in any trade this summer, according to Jon Krawczynski and Danny Leroux of The Athletic. While they are expected to pursue Simmons and potentially other players, the T-Wolves view Russell as a key part of their core and “want to keep it that way.”
Russell appeared in just 42 games in his first full season with Minnesota, but the team has obviously been impressed with the former No. 2 overall pick. He averaged 19.0 points and 5.8 assists per game. Of course, leaking word that Russell is off-limits could be the Timberwolves’ way of posturing ahead of a summer of negotiations.
Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns and Malik Beasley all made more than 38 percent of their 3-point attempts this season. Simmons is obviously a liability as a shooter, but the Timberwolves could, in theory, give him the spacing he needs to thrive. He could also help them defensively.
A report last month gave us an idea of just how interested the Timberwolves are in Simmons.
Byron Scott will go down as one of the worst coaches in Los Angeles Lakers history, and one of his players from that era certainly agrees.
Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell spoke recently with Jake Fischer for Fischer’s new book “Built To Lose: How the NBA’s Tanking Era Changed the League Forever.” In an excerpt, Russell tore into Scott, his first head coach in the NBA.
“He’s an idiot,” said Russell of Scott, per Silver Screen & Roll. “I just think he was malicious for no reason. He’s a solid man. But as a coach, he was bad. He was just bad at his job.”
The excerpt adds that Russell thought Scott often pulled him from close games just to spark controversy and attention for Scott’s postgame press conferences. Fischer also says that Scott did not handle fellow Lakers youngster Julius Randle with the same kid gloves.
“I was just young,” Russell went on. “I used to do all types of s— to avoid talking to him.”
Scott was only Russell’s coach for one season, his 2015-16 rookie campaign. But it was a season that Russell would much rather forget. He was the No. 2 overall pick that year but would often get benched by Scott, sometimes for ridiculous reasons. Scott also publicly questioned Russell’s maturity on multiple occasions.
Scott ended up getting fired after that season, finishing with the single worst winning percentage (.227) of any coach in Lakers franchise history. Russell only lasted for one more year in Los Angeles before he was traded but ended up developing into an All-Star elsewhere. After his firing, Scott openly stated that he had no relationship with Russell. It is clear based on Russell’s latest comments that the feeling there is very mutual.
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ season may be over, but class is still in session for some of their players.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported on Friday that the Wolves are using an interesting motivational tactic for star guard D’Angelo Russell and others on the team. The Wolves brought Russell and teammate Jaylen Nowell to Thursday’s Game 3 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns. The goal is reportedly to show them what it is like to play in a hectic playoff atmosphere. Haynes adds that Minnesota plans to continue sending players to big postseason games to gain perspective on what it takes to play at that high of a level.
The move is a bit odd for the 25-year-old Russell, who already went to the playoffs with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019. But the experience might be helpful for their younger players, especially with the 23-49 Wolves not really playing in a high-leverage game all year.
Still though, this revelation could make the former All-Star Russell the target of roasts again just like he has been in the past.
The Minnesota Timberwolves already have one Los Angeles Lakers exile in D’Angelo Russell. Now they could be going for two.
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported over the weekend that the Wolves have been “aggressively pursuing” Cleveland Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. since the offseason. Fedor notes that Nance is good friends with Russell, who is described as “a strong Nance advocate.”
Russell and Nance were rookies together on the Lakers during the 2015-16 campaign under the mentorship of the late Kobe Bryant. They spent one more season as teammates before the Lakers traded Russell in the 2017 offseason. Nance was then dealt at the 2018 trade deadline.
The defensive-minded Nance is looking like a popular trade target again. As for Russell, he appears to have at least some pull in Minnesota. Thus, we can expect the Wolves to be at the forefront of Nance talks in the coming weeks.
Ryan Saunders became the first NBA head coach to be fired this season, and some friction with one of his star players may have been partly to blame.
Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic reported this week that the fit between the ex-Minnesota Timberwolves coach and guard D’Angelo Russell appeared to strain as the season went along. Krawczynski adds that Russell would jaw at Saunders during some games.
The NBA-worst Wolves fired Saunders, who had gone 43-94 (.314) in three seasons with the team, over the weekend. Toronto Raptors assistant Chris Finch is set to become their new coach. He will try to better navigate a roster that has been ravaged by both injuries and COVID cases this season.
Russell himself is sidelined with a knee injury and has appeared in just 20 games so far this year. If his relationship with Saunders was indeed strained, it would not be the first time that Russell clashed with a head coach.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the worst teams in basketball right now, but D’Angelo Russell refuses to point fingers.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, the Wolves guard defended head coach Ryan Saunders in spite of the team’s struggles.
“I feel bad for Coach right now,” said Russell, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “He’s not getting a fair shake.”
The former All-Star added that the team’s youth, injuries, and COVID cases have all made it tough on Saunders.
Minnesota is 3-10 to start the season, which makes them the worst team in the Western Conference. But they are indeed having to integrate a bunch of new and moving parts. Superstar center Karl-Anthony Towns is also one of multiple Wolves players to have recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
Saunders is in his third season as coach of the Wolves but now has an ugly career record of 39-80 (.328). While he still has the support of Russell, others on the team have sounded pretty irked this season.
Nick Young still does not appear to be over his beef with D’Angelo Russell.
The ex-NBA swingman Young was a guest this week on Complex’s “Load Management” podcast. During the episode, Young was asked who the most annoying teammate that he ever had in the NBA was.
“Most annoying teammate? Probably D’Angelo Russell,” Young replied. He left it at that and did not elaborate any further.
It has been over four years now since Russell exposed Young for cheating on then-fiancée Iggy Azalea when they were teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers. The incident led to the breakup of Young and Azalea. It may have also indirectly led to Russell being traded by the Lakers roughly a year later.
Young has taken some other shots at Russell in the years since. From the looks of it, this may be a grudge that Young carries forever.
D’Angelo Russell and the Golden State Warriors were an odd pairing from the jump, and some on the team might not have been all that sad to see him go.
Connor Letorneau of the San Francisco Chronicle reported this weekend that many on the Warriors were “far more upset” about forward Glenn Robinson III being moved at the trade deadline than the Russell trade a day later.
Robinson, a 3-and-D wing, was dealt to the Philadelphia 76ers along with Alec Burks for a trio of second-round picks. That was followed by Russell being shipped to the Minnesota Timberwolves with Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans for a package that netted the Warriors star forward Andrew Wiggins.
While Letorneau’s report may be more compliment to Robinson than an indictment of Russell, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr openly admitted afterwards that the former All-Star guard was a poor fit for the team.
Previous reports also said that several key Warriors had soured on Russell, so that probably didn’t help his cause any either.
D’Angelo Russell came into his own as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, but he is not giving the coach who oversaw it too much credit.
As part of a feature this week by Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, Russell, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves, took a swipe at ex-Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson, who was in charge for both of his seasons in Brooklyn.
“I’m not going to give it to Kenny,” said the 24-year-old Russell. “I still don’t think he knew what he had, honestly. I don’t think he knew what I was capable of in the fourth quarter.”
Krawczynski notes that Atkinson kept Russell on the bench early in his tenure with the Nets and that Russell feels Atkinson only went to him as a last resort when backcourt teammates Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris Levert were injured.
Regardless, Russell, who was traded to Brooklyn by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, enjoyed productive years there, especially in 2018-19. That season, he made 81 starts for the Nets, averaging 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game en route to his first career All-Star selection.
As for Atkinson, who was just fired by the Nets in March, there were some signs that he was not particularly well-liked by the team’s stars. Russell’s comments here may add further fuel to that theory.
The “load management” trend in the NBA has been a problem for the league, and they are acting about it.
The league on Thursday fined the Minnesota Timberwolves $25,000 for resting a healthy D’Angelo Russell for its game on February 23 against the Denver Nuggets.
Russell was acquired by Minnesota in a trade with Golden State ahead of the deadline. He’s played in five games with his new team and missed Sunday’s loss in Denver.
The 24-year-old guard has averaged 24.4 points and 8.0 assists per game since joining Minnesota. The Timberwolves are having a rough go of it over the past month. They had lost 18 of 19 games prior to Wednesday’s surprising win over the Miami Heat.