June 15, 2021

Reports: Timberwolves trade Jeff Teague to Hawks, set sights on D’Angelo Russell

The Minnesota Timberwolves have traded point guard Jeff Teague and shooting guard Treveon Graham to the Atlanta Hawks for small forward Allen Crabbe, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

The trade provides the Hawks with a veteran backup to second-year point guard Trae Young. And according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, it signifies amplification of Minnesota’s pursuit of Golden State Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell.

Report: T’Wolves want D’Angelo Russell
Minnesota has long coveted Russell, according to Charania. The All-Star point guard is friends with Karl-Anthony Towns and would provide a legitimate No. 2 alongside the All-NBA center. Shipping Teague and Graham to Atlanta frees up a roster spot and creates a need in the backcourt.

Per Charania:

The Wolves have long been intrigued by Russell, dating back to their courtship of him this summer before he signed a max deal with the Warriors. Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns are close friends, and the point guard would give the team a shooter and playmaker at that position that they have sorely lacked.

But, according to the report, discussions with the Warriors have “yielded no traction” as Golden State has displayed little interest in moving Russell.

Would Warriors deal Russell?
Many speculated that the Warriors intended Russell’s stint with the team to be short when they conducted a sign-and-trade to bring him to Golden State from the Brooklyn Nets last summer. It was an opportunistic transaction for Golden State that had few other means to improve its roster at the time.

With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both injured but expected to return next season, Russell’s presence on the roster would add up to a crowded backcourt. With Russell signed through 2023, Golden State holds the cards.

Swap of expiring contracts
All three players in the deal are on expiring contracts, with Teague earning $19 million, Crabbe earning $18.5 million and Graham earning $1.65 million this season.

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