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NBA insiders say Wolves chances of getting D'Angelo Russell are real

Long time Wolves writer Zach Harper joined a Twin Cities radio station this week.

NBA free agency officially begins at 5 p.m. this Sunday and Wolves fans will be anxiously waiting for new President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas to make some magic happen. 

Seriously, though. He might need magic to do anything because the Wolves don't have much salary cap space and trading Andrew Wiggins and the $122 million left on his contract, or the $33 million left on Gorgui Dieng's contract, is a tall task. 

But Minnesota does have an intriguing player with an expiring contract that at least one team should find appealing: Jeff Teague, and the $19 million that will come off the books after the 2019-20 season. 

But Teague to the Brooklyn Nets in a sign-and-trade for D'Angelo Russell – the 23-year-old All-Star point guard who continues to be linked to the Wolves – doesn't make any sense because Brooklyn doesn't need a point guard if they sign Kyrie Irving, and they won't want to take on any more money if they hope to sign two maximum contract free agents. 

So to make a deal work the Wolves would need to get a third team involved to take on Teague's contract, while sending draft picks to the Nets and probably to the third team involved as well. 

It's a giant mess that The Athletic's Zach Harper is trying to figure out while listening to "smart people" around the NBA tell him that Minnesota has a realistic chance to get Russell. 

Harper was on 1500 SKOR North radio in the Twin Cities this week, and here's what he had to say about the Russell-Minnesota situation. 

The big name linked to the Wolves is Nets point guard D'Angelo Russell, who is rumored to be on his way out of Brooklyn by way of a trade or through signing with a team as a restricted free agent. 

"So here’s the thing that’s tripping me out about this. Every smart person I talk to and every person who knows stuff I talk to says the Wolves have a real chance of getting D’Angelo Russell. And then I look at the cap situation and I look at the guys they have to send out to make it work," said Harper. 

"I don’t see how it’s possible. I just don’t. I’ve seen the layouts to what needs to happen and everything," he added. "There’s no way Gersson [Rosas] can pull this off and yet there’s so many smart people around the league telling me, 'no this is a real thing, this could happen.' 

"I feel like I’m taking crazy pills at this point. So I’m going to say, I’ll cop out and say it’s a 50-50 chance. Either it happens or it doesn’t. I know it’s not a sexy answer. I’m so confused by this scenario and how it needs to work in order to pull it off that I don’t even... I wish I had a good answer for you guys, I just don’t."

That's messy, but Wolves fans should be intrigued by the thought that a lot of NBA people consider Minnesota as a real possible landing spot for Russell. 

Harper also said some interesting things about Wiggins trade speculation, noting that it's more likely Wiggins is traded a year from now. 

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