Timberwolves’ head coach Chris Finch benched D’Angelo Russell late in the fourth quarter of his team’s Game 6 first-round loss to the Grizzlies. Finch decided to play undrafted third-year guard Jordan McLaughlin instead. Although some fans might not agree, McLaughlin was playing better statistically.
In five playoff games, the undrafted player averaged 6.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists against the Grizzlies. While not excellent, he still closed out the fourth quarter of games stronger than Russell. Despite averaging 12 points, 2.5 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game versus Memphis, Russell underperformed during crunch time.
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The latest from the NBA's coaching search grapevine and updates on Jalen Brunson, D'Angelo Russell and the scourge of these playoffs — ugh … injuries — all here in my latest This Week In Basketball column: https://t.co/Z77uCt2MX8
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) May 2, 2022
Needless to say, Finch’s decision to bench the seventh-year player angered him. The guard wants out. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, several teams are waiting for Timberwolves’ general manager Scott Layden to make them an offer for D’Angelo Russell this offseason.
“Numerous rival teams expect the Wolves to try to trade Russell this offseason irrespective of Russell’s close relationship with Minnesota star Karl-Anthony Towns. Russell, 26, has one season left on his contract at $31.4 million,” said Stein.
D’Angelo Russell is not worth a maximum contract
Furthermore, on Jul. 7, 2019, as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Warriors, the Nets traded Russell to the west coast after he signed a four-year, $117.32 million maximum contract. Of course, Brooklyn received Kevin Durant and a 2020 first-round draft pick after giving away Russell, Treveon Graham and Shabazz Napier.
Additionally, after failing to earn an All-Star selection since 2019, Russell has taken a step back. On Feb. 6, 2020, the guard, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman were traded by the Warriors to the Timberwolves. In exchange, the Warriors received Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 first-round draft pick and a 2021 season-round draft pick.
He has spent on the last three seasons in Minnesota. Though, now is the time for a change in scenery. Did D’Angelo Russell live up to the hype with the Timberwolves? Offensively, his performance regressed. He averaged 23.6 points per game with the Warriors in the 2019-20 season. Since then, his averages have been below 22 points.
When teammate Patrick Beverley was asked about Russell’s Game 6 effort, he said, “I feel like he could have ended better. Everyone felt that, he felt that. We need him a lot and, just one of those series. And it’s something he’s gonna learn from.”
As the Timberwolves attempt to trade their guard in the coming months, the Kentucky native will be preparing to play for his fifth team of his NBA career. How many more times will he seek a trade? D’Angelo Russell was selected second overall by the Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft.