Bob Myers reveals biggest Andrew Wiggins-D’Angelo Russell trade sticking point

Myers reveals biggest sticking point in Wiggins-D-Lo trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

As the trade continues to play out, it appears the Warriors got the best of the Minnesota Timberwolves in their deal for Andrew Wiggins at the 2019-20 deadline.

On Feb. 7, 2020, Golden State sent guard D’Angelo Russell along with two bench players, Jacob Evans III and Omari Spellman, to Minnesota in exchange for Wiggins as well as a first-round pick and second-round pick in the 2021 NBA draft.

It wasn’t an easy deal to complete.

“To be totally transparent, there was a lot of hard parts,” Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers said in an interview with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami on Thursday. “A lot of people were wary of this trade.”

Wiggins, selected No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers and then traded to the Timberwolves after the draft in 2014, was never quite looked at as a bust but was perceived as overpaid after signing a five-year max deal with the Timberwolves before the 2018-19 campaign.

The most difficult part of getting the trade finalized was agreeing to a pick protection for the Wolves’ first-rounder.

“That was the biggest sticking point,” Myers told Kawakami. “That wasn’t resolved until the morning of the deadline. Of course, their general manager Gersson Rosas is doing his job, pushing it out as far as he can. I’m trying to limit it as much as I can. That usually comes down to the last minute. But [the pick protection] was batted around, whether it was four or three or two or whatever it might be, and we finally agreed on what we agreed on (top-three protected). The deal got done.”

Minnesota landed the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 draft lottery. Since it was outside of the top three, the Timberwolves handed over the selection to Golden State, which used it to select Jonathan Kuminga.

Kuminga is now filling in as a member of the Warriors starting lineup as Draymond Green works his way back from injuries.

Midway through his eighth NBA season, it’s fair to say Wiggins is playing the best basketball of his career.

In 40 games with the Warriors this season, Wiggins is averaging 18.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 31.2 minutes. Those aren’t personal bests in either category, but the former Kansas star is performing far more efficiently than he has in years past with career marks in field-goal percentage (49.1 percent) and a 3-point percentage (42.3 percent).

He’s rewriting his reputation on the floor with Golden State.

“I think we’re getting the best version of him,” Myers told Kawakami. “And it’s a good example of how things can evolve and shift. Opinions can change based on how a player performs, based on his fit, based on the system he’s in. Andrew is a really good success story for us, obviously, but for any player in the league to be put in the right landscape and the right position.”

RELATED: Klay, Wiggins’ improving chemistry gives Warriors a new trio

In the latest NBA All-Star fan voting results released Thursday, Wiggins ranked third among Western Conference frontcourt players with nearly 2.7 million votes. Only LeBron James and Nikola Jokic have received more in the frontcourt.

“If he makes the All-Star Game — which I think he’s got a good chance of doing — what a turnaround for how he’s perceived in the league,” Myers said. “… I’m hoping that happens for him.”

And so do the Warriors.

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