Getting Wild with Timberwolves Trades!
The trading deadline is one of the most fun times of year for NBA fans! It is especially fun for fans of losing teams with active general managers. Timberwolves fans happen to fall into both of those categories with their team sporting a 10–33 record and Gersson Rosas at the controls. The Wolves have seemingly been linked to every trade target available, and because of the front office’s activity it seems everything is on the table. Let’s have some fun with the trade machine and try to explain the rationale for each deal!
***DISCLAIMER: Here at Ball Eyes North we are Timberwolves fans. If the trades seem like they are tilted towards the Wolves, that is because we are tired and spend our time watching a 10–33 Timberwolves squad. It’s supposed to be fun, so just roll with it! Also Malik Beasley is included in all of these trades not because I want to get rid of him, but because his salary and value makes these deals all work much better. I am generally pro-Malik on the Wolves.
The “Complicated 4 Teamer Trying to Make Everyone Happy”
Hawks: Acquire Marcus Smart, Malik Beasley, and Semi Ojeleye. Send out John Collins, Tony Snell, Kevin Huerter, and Kris Dunn. Quite honestly the Hawks do not NEED to do anything. They are winners of 8 of their last 9 games and have put themselves squarely in the thick of the Eastern conference playoffs. But they have a relatively forward thinking front office, and standing pat could lead to locking themselves in to their current roster without much flexibility moving forward. This trade gives them the opportunity to be proactive. They do not need to pay Collins this offseason, and instead acquire Beasley and Smart, who are both on contracts that will hold value a year from now. They are also getting contributors to help them reach and compete in the playoffs this season. A starting lineup of Young, Smart, Hunter, Gallinari, and Capela with Rondo, Beasley, Bogdanovic, and Reddish off the bench while retaining all of their future picks seems like a pretty good place to be!
Celtics: Acquire Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon. Send out Marcus Smart, Semi Ojeleye, and 2 1st round picks. This trade is all based off of recent reports that the Celtics are hot on the trail of acquiring Gordon and Fournier from the Magic, and that Boston is offering 2 1sts and a player. This is probably a bad trade for Boston, but they seem relatively desperate for depth and a scoring punch so we will go with it! They are able to absorb the salary of Fournier and Gordon by sending out Smart and using their huge trade exception. This trade also costs them a lot of money, but they retain Fournier’s bird rights and have Gordon on a pretty good contract for another year after this one, although they probably only pull the trigger if they have a wink/nod agreement from Gordon that he resigns. If all goes according to plan, the Celtics should not miss those future 1sts as they would fall in the mid to late 20’s, but they have some protections just in case.
Magic: Acquire Kris Dunn, Jarrett Culver, 1st rd pick from Minnesota, and 2 1sts from Boston. Send out Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier. 3 1st round picks for Gordon and an expiring Fournier? That would seem to be a solid haul for the retooling Magic. Kris Dunn will be an expiring salary next year (and is a useful defender) while Culver could be a reclamation project under a good coach. The Magic save a ton of money and open up many more paths to move forward with flexibility. They would head into next season with a less crowded cap sheet, a load of draft capital (a future Wolves 1st is always enticing), and a young core of Markelle Fultz, Cole Anthony, Jonathan Isaac, Chuma Okeke, and their (most likely) high 2021 draft pick go along with Nikola Vucević. It would not seem they lose a ton from a competitive standpoint next year and suddenly have the flexibility for more moves down the road.
Timberwolves: Acquire John Collins, Tony Snell, and Kevin Huerter. Send out Malik Beasley, Jarrett Culver, and a Top 5 Protected 2024 1st round pick. The Wolves get their guy. After reportedly resisting including a 1st round pick AND Beasley to get Collins, the Wolves relent once they are able to secure Huerter in the deal. Huerter is a surefire fit as a 6th man that mixes well with the starters and the bench unit. Collins is the frontcourt mate that Towns has always wanted on offense. The Wolves have to include the 1st that gets routed to the Magic as a way for the Hawks to land Smart, but they receive Huerter and an expiring Snell for their troubles. Sending out future 1sts for the worst team in the league is never a great idea, but Rosas likes to make waves, and this is certainly a deal that shakes things up for the Wolves moving forward.
The “Wolves Sneak into the Lonzo Ball Deal”
Pelicans: Acquire Malik Beasley. Send out Lonzo Ball. For the Pelicans it is pretty simple. They gain future flexibility by not having to pay big money to keep Lonzo in RFA this offseason, and gain a scorer like Beasley that should fit well in the offense next to Zion and Ingram. Beasley’s contract should hold value over the next couple of years, and with their treasure chest of 1st round picks they can get into any deal for a star by attaching them to Malik and making offers. New Orleans retains the asset and essentially buys themselves future flexibility and more time to figure out the core around Zion Williamson.
Bulls: Acquire Lonzo Ball and Jarrett Culver. Send Out Lauri Markkanen, Tomas Satoransky, and a Top 10 Protected 2021 1st round pick. Chicago may be giving up a bit much in this one. They might not be interested in resigning Markkanen anyway and they would probably like to get rid of Satoransky if they are acquiring Ball, but a 2021 1st round pick is tough to give up when they will have to pay Ball right away this offseason. In this scenario they pull the trigger because Lonzo seems to be the perfect guard to play next to Zach LaVine and Coby White. Because of this they are likely fine with sacrificing the 11–16th pick in 2021 for the opportunity to lock up Lonzo long-term.
Timberwolves: Acquire Tomas Satoransky, Lauri Markkanen, 2021 1st round pick. Send Malik Beasley and Jarrett Culver. The Wolves buy their way back into the 2021 draft (assuming Chicago lands somewhere outside the top 10) and land Markkanen who they can work on a long-term contract with in the offseason as he hits RFA. Satoransky will be an expiring contract next season and could likely be moved again in the offseason or before next year’s trade deadline. This move likely hurts the Wolves in the short-term, but it buys them a little extra flexibility heading into this offseason and next year.
The “President Brogdon Comes to Minnesota”
Pacers: Acquire Ricky Rubio, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Cody Zeller, 2 1st round picks, 1 2nd round pick. Send out Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, Edmond Sumner, and Myles Turner. At first glance, this is probably not enough for Indiana to consider when they are sending out arguably their 2nd and 3rd best players. Essentially they are receiving Beasley and 2 1sts for Brogdon and Turner. Beasley would be a great fit along side Levert and Sabonis, but Brogdon is already a great fit with those guys. The only motivation here is to move off of a 28 year old guard with a history of injuries in Brogdon, and a center that has not been a consistently great partner for their best player. It buys the Pacers future flexibility under the luxury tax and a few draft assets for the future.
Hornets: Acquire Myles Turner. Send out Cody Zeller, 1 1st round pick, 1 2nd round pick. Charlotte gets their floor spreading/rim protecting center of the future. So far this season we have seen the Hornets play small with either Biyombo or Zeller at the center position as the rim protector/rim roller. Subbing in Turner for those two would unlock their defense and add space and skill to the offense. A protected 2023 1st round pick, a 2023 2nd round pick via Boston, and Cody Zeller’s expiring salary are a small price to pay to bring Turner in to go with their increasingly intriguing young core.
Timberwolves: Acquire Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and Edmond Sumner. Send out Ricky Rubio, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt, and a Top 5 Protected 2024 1st round pick. This is a trade the Wolves likely do in a heartbeat. Brogdon is one of the most flexible guards in the league as he can flourish as a ballhandler, a spot up shooter, and defend his position very well. The future President of the United States also has impeccable character and would be a solid mentor for the Wolves young players while also slotting in as the team’s 2nd best player right away. Malik Beasley is arguably on a better contract, but Brogdon’s all around game makes him a much better fit with the Wolves current roster. The risk of giving up a Top 5 Protected 2024 1st round pick is hefty, but a healthy Brogdon gives the Wolves a level of skill, versatility, and maturity they have not seen in years.
The “Rosas Goes All In”
Raptors: Acquire Malik Beasley, Ed Davis, Jarrett Culver, 2 1st round picks, and 1 1st round pick swap. Send out Pascal Siakam and Paul Watson. This is ONLY considered if the Raptors are really leaning in to clearing their books and taking on a mini rebuild. Siakam is 26 years old and fits their current team’s timeline, but he already earns $30.5 million per year and that salary will only increase over the next 3 years after this one. Toronto would acquire Beasley for half of that salary, and you can bet that Masai Ujiri would find a way to maximize his trade value and gain even more picks if they decide not to keep him. They also get Ed Davis’ expiring $5 million and Jarrett Culver who could be a solid “buy low” acquisition for a team that is known for developing wing players. Their core moving forward looks fairly enticing with Van Vleet, Beasley, Anunoby, a (likely) high 2021 draft pick, and some extra Minnesota 1st round picks in the future. That front office and coaching staff can probably work some magic with that group.
Timberwolves: Acquire Pascal Siakam and Paul Watson. Send out Ed Davis, Malik Beasley, Jarrett Culver, 2 1st round picks, and 1 pick swap. The Wolves essentially lock themselves into a core of Russell, Edwards, Towns, and Siakam with this deal. Without much draft capital and zero financial flexibility the room for improvement is gone, so they will rely on superior talent and the idea that Siakam is the perfect fit on both ends of the court next to Karl-Anthony Towns. This would be Gersson Rosas’ defining move. If it fails, he loses his job and the franchise suffers. But if he is right, they finally break through with a sustainable core to be playoff mainstays every year.