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Report: Wolves interested in restricted free agent D'Angelo Russell

Russell will become a restricted free agent on July 1.

With NBA free agency starting in less than a month (July 1), the rumor is beginning to pick up the pace and one such rumor on Tuesday involved the Timberwolves. 

Shams Charania of The Athletic (paywall) reports that the Wolves are among a handful of teams expected to go after point guard D'Angelo Russell. 

"A market is forming for Nets All-Star and restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell: Utah, Orlando, Minnesota and Indiana are among the teams expected to show an interest aside from Brooklyn, sources said."

That's interesting, but acquiring Russell via signing him as a free agent or trading for him would take some magic from new Minnesota president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas. 

Russell is a restricted free agent, meaning the Nets have the right to match any offer he gets on the open market. And the offers are likely to be rather large. The Nets can make a qualifying offer to Russell of at least $9,160,705, but odds are any offer the Nets make him will be higher. 

Will Russell be offered a maximum contract that would pay him upwards of $28 million annually? It's a lofty price tag for a shoot-first point guard who made just over 43% of his attempts and averaged more than three turnovers per game in 2018-19. 

Plus, bringing Russell in at a huge contract would require Rosas to make some trades involving one or a blend of Andrew Wiggins, Jeff Teague and Gorgui Dieng. 

Dieng is still due $33.5 million over the next two seasons, whereas Teague is set to make $19 million this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent the summer of 2020.

What's noteworthy is that The Athletic reported last year that the Nets tried to move the needle and send Russell and other pieces to the Wolves for Jimmy Butler, but then coach/president Tom Thibodeau wasn't interested. Butler wound up being traded for Robert Covington and Dario Saric, both of whom are solid. 

It's also noteworthy that Russell is reportedly good friends with Karl-Anthony Towns, although that probably won't factor into any big decisions Rosas makes. 

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