Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 stars the Wolves could acquire to help Towns

HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 15: NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 15: NBA players Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Paul
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 3: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves plays defense against Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Let’s talk about CP3

We’ve all heard the speculation regarding Chris Paul and whether or not he could be on his way out of Oklahoma City before he ever suits up for the Thunder.

The Thunder are, after all, a bottom-three team in the Western Conference, and without Paul they would be in the conversation with Phoenix as the league’s worst squad. But even with Paul, it’s hard to see OKC even sniffing postseason play this season.

Yours truly has discussed it on the Locked On Wolves podcast and we’ve covered it a couple of times here at Dunking With Wolves. But is it at all realistic?

Short answer: yes. Absolutely.

There are a couple of ways that things could get done from a salary perspective.

The one that the Wolves would no doubt prefer is swapping Andrew Wiggins and his max contract for Paul. The deal almost works straight up, although the Wolves would need to add another modest salary or two to the trade. (The ESPN Trade Machine isn’t quite fully functional at the moment, but adding roughly $5 million to the Thunder’s intake should get it done.)

Hot. Projection models predict Wolves with shot at playoffs. light

There’s already been some clamoring from the Oklahoma City media to take on the Wiggins project in a (likely misguided) attempt at shortcut to a rebuild. But make no mistake: whichever franchise ends up dealing for Wiggins will be prepared to sell him to their fanbase as “former No. 1 overall pick and Rookie of the Year” Andrew Wiggins.

If the Thunder balk at a Wiggins swap (they may have already, in fact), there’s a chance that the Wolves get something done around Jeff Teague. Any move with Teague would probably have to include a first-round pick or two, plus another asset. It could be Robert Covington and his $11.3 million cap hit, or it could be Josh Okogie and others.

Losing both Covington and Teague would be a tough pill to swallow, as it’s two-thirds of the starting lineup and a healthy Covington is a perfect complementary piece to any playoff team. But Paul would step into Teague’s role immediately, and the Wolves suddenly have eight or nine guys on the roster who could be capable of providing solid minutes on the wing in Covington’s stead.

The preferred method is Wiggins and a couple of pieces for Paul, of course, and it’s absolutely possible that Paul and his agent could be working behind the scenes to try and get something done in the coming months. Something tells me that CP3 would rather be fighting for playoff positioning in Minneapolis than languishing in the 25-30 win range in OKC.