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Minnesota Timberwolves Pre-Draft Rumor Roundup

The Timberwolves have been active ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft.

San Antonio Spurs v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images

D’Angelo Russell’s Availability

The Minnesota Timberwolves enter the 2022 NBA Draft armed with four draft picks and a incumbent starting point guard in D’Angelo Russell who has been made available in trade talks.

According to our good friend Dane Moore of BlueWire Podcasts, we may be on the cusp of reaching a resolution on the Russell front.

This builds on the reporting of KSTP’s Darren “Doogie” Wolfson, who reported on Thursday afternoon that the Timberwolves appear motivated to trade Russell, according to an Eastern Conference executive.

Russell is extension eligible and has one year left on his deal, during which he is set to earn $31.4 million. If he isn’t extended, he will enter unrestricted free agency next summer.

Is Nerlens Noel a Name to Watch?

On the same episode of SKOR North’s Mackey and Judd, Wolfson reported Minnesota may be in the mix for New York Knicks C Nerlens Noel, who has fans in the Wolves’ facility.

Noel is a rim protecting, rim running 5 who is a capable drop coverage defender and rebounder, two areas of need on Minnesota’s current roster. It has been widely reported that the Knicks are trying to clear cap space to chase free agent PG Jalen Brunson, most recently of the Dallas Mavericks. Several have added that the Knicks may be in play for Kyrie Irving if he is signed-and-traded from the Brooklyn Nets. In order to free the space, New York is looking to move Noel and his two-year, $18.5 million (second year team option) contract.

Indiana Pacers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Could the Wolves Revive a Hunt For a Bigger Name Center?

Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report reported this week that the Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors are interested in Indiana Pacers C Myles Turner, whom was first connected to the Wolves during the 2022 Trade Deadline.

That comes after Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday Minnesota’s interest in Atlanta Hawks C Clint Capela. His college, Jon Krawczynski, reported that the there was little engagement on any deal.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on Tuesday the Wolves are interested in Utah Jazz C Rudy Gobert, although that seems far less likely given that Gobert is on a supermax contract and having two supermax contracts to center-type players makes little financial sense given how championship teams have been structured of late.

North Carolina v Duke Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Is Trading Up From No. 19 An Option?

Mike Scotto of HoopsHype reported on Tuesday that the Wolves, along with the Memphis Grizzlies (No. 22 pick) and Milwaukee Bucks (No. 24), have inquired about the No. 14 pick, held by the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is noteworthy because the Hornets own the No. 13 and No. 15 picks. It has been reported by several outlets that Charlotte is looking to package one of their first-round picks in order to offload Gordon Hayward’s contract. They are in the market for a center and have been a popular mock draft destination for Duke C Mark Williams. Minnesota jumping over the Hornets to 14 may be what it takes to select Williams, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

With just under two hours until the draft, there’s no telling what may happen. But it feels very likely the Wolves will make a move of some substance, given they own four picks (Nos. 19, 40, 48 and 50), do not have the space to take those players in, and may look to cement their point guard of the future either through the draft or a draft-day trade.