D’Angelo Russell was upset about being kept on the bench during the closing minutes of Friday’s Game 6 loss, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. With their season on the line, the Timberwolves opted to trust reserve point guard Jordan McLaughlin instead of Russell.
It was a tough way to end the series for Russell, and he responded, “No. Not at all,” when asked if he was OK with coach Chris Finch’s decision. Russell had seven points and four turnovers in Game 6 and averaged 12 PPG and shot 33% throughout the series.
“We still think the fit is great,” Finch said of Russell. “His skill set, his play-making, all that stuff hasn’t changed. We’ve just got to figure out maybe some different sets or structures that kind of accentuate those things too. I could’ve done a better job of trying to get him into the series a little bit more with some plays for him maybe off the ball.”
The poor series came at an unfortunate time for Russell, who will be eligible for a four-year extension starting in July that could pay him up to $40M+ per season. Hine believes it’s unlikely the Wolves will make that offer and he questions Russell’s future with the team, especially now that Gersson Rosas, who brought him to Minnesota, is no longer with the organization.
“I don’t like to speak on that,” Russell said when asked about the extension. “It kind of comes back to haunt you a lot of the times. There’s nothing more that I can do to showcase my worth or the number that I’m looking for or anything like that. I would just rather not entertain myself with that until the time comes.”
There’s more from Minnesota:
- The Wolves should commit to McLaughlin rather than Russell and should consider bringing back Grizzlies guard Tyus Jones in free agency, argues Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. Jones played his first four seasons in Minnesota before signing with Memphis in 2019.
- The team had to be impressed by its two youngest players, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels, who both shined in their first playoff tests, states Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune. After the Game 6 elimination, Edwards invited his teammates to train with him this summer, and McDaniels said he’ll spend part of the offseason working out with Clippers star Kawhi Leonard. “The best path for us still is our internal growth, which is the exciting part with Jaden and Ant and the performances they can leave the season on,” Finch said.
- Finch supports a permanent role for executive vice president Sachin Gupta, who has been running the team since Rosas was fired in September, Hine adds in a separate story.