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Reports: D’Angelo Russell to Warriors in 3-team deal with Timberwolves

The Golden State Warriors have managed to loop the Minnesota Timberwolves in on the sign-and-trade deal that will send D’Angelo Russell to the Bay Area.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Warriors and Brooklyn Nets have outlined a sign-and-trade deal that will deliver Russell to Golden State on a four-year, $117 million deal. The sign-and-trade deal will include Golden State sending a protected future first-rounder to Brooklyn and re-routing Shabazz Napier, Treveon Graham and cash to the Timberwolves.

Minnesota’s involvement is something of a surprise, given that they had aggressively pursued Russell as a sign-and-trade, as notably detailed by Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, drafted No. 1 overall ahead of Russell (No. 2) in 2015, posted an Instagram story Saturday night that included an apparent nod to his close friend’s “D-Loading” nickname (and social media handle/hashtag), which began to excite many in the Minnesota fan base.

Yet the Warriors knew that Kevin Durant was headed to the Nets and apparently decided to chart an alternate course, clearing a path for Brooklyn’s All-Star point guard to head cross-country and join them. That left the Timberwolves on the outside looking in.

Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported the acquisition was near and would also include Graham and Napier. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski soon confirmed the deal, as did Mark Medina of The Mercury News.

In making this move, Medina writes, it appears unlikely the Warriors will retain free agents such as DeMarcus Cousins, Quinn Cook, Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko and Andrew Bogut. The Warriors own the Bird Rights to big man Kevon Looney, which will allow them to go over the salary cap to retain him if they so choose.

Russell, originally drafted No. 2 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015, developed into an All-Star in Brooklyn. He averaged a career-best line (21.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 7.0 apg, 43.4 FG%, 36.9 3P%) while leading the Nets to the playoffs for the first time in four seasons. They fell to the Sixers, 4-1, in the first round.

Napier established a role as a scoring guard off the bench (9.4 ppg, 17.6 mpg in 56 games). Graham, a swingman signed as a free agent heading into the season, provided spot duty across 35 games (5.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 20.4 mpg)

Around the same time, Wojnarowski reported that — in a tangentially related maneuver — the Warriors would be trading Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies, with a protected 2024 first-round pick attached.

Iguodala, who earned Finals MVP recognition in 2015, averaged 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 23.2 minutes last season, his 15th. The 35-year-old’s contract, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, now comes off the Warriors books and slots into an exception the Grizzlies held as a result of the reported trade of Mike Conley Jr. to the Utah Jazz.

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