The Minnesota Timberwolves might be active at this year's trade deadline, and there is one name that continues to be connected to the Wolves.
When reports surface that your once in a generation, face of the franchise All-Star is unhappy, red flags should start to go up. The Minnesota Timberwolves front office needs to take notice, and they need to take action.
Lucky for them, I’m here to help. D’Angelo Russell has been linked to the Timberwolves since the start of the summer, so it's fair to say that the Russell-centric rumors aren't going anywhere. After that, things get a little crazy.
Let's take a look at a completely made-up trade that should most definitely happen. To be clear: this is not an existing rumor, but it's an idea that could work for all parties involved.
Note: The graphic cuts off a couple of extra draft picks included. The Magic would also receive two second-round picks from the Timberwolves, and Golden State would get a top-three protected pick from Minnesota and a top-five protected pick from Orlando.
Why the Wolves do the deal
Why would the Timberwolves make this trade? When Karl-Anthony Towns says he’s unhappy and wants to play with D’Angelo Russell and Devin Booker, you find a way to get them. By getting Russell, the Timberwolves are getting a true second All-Star, placing them among the teams with elite duos.
This trade opens the door for the development of Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver on the wings by trading Wiggins. Bringing in Aaron Gordon, they find themselves a stretch-4 to pair with Towns with bounce and elite defense potential. Not to mention he’s on a friendly deal, making $54 million over the next three seasons.
Overall, this deal is a win for the Timberwolves. Towns is happy getting to play with one of his best friends. They sell high on Andrew Wiggins and set themselves up to be playoff contenders while their dynamic duo is under contract the next four season.
Wiggins has been having a career-year, averaging 24 points and a career-best Effective Field Goal Percentage of 49 percent. While it would make sense on paper to keep him to develop with Towns and Russell, looking at his style of play gives a better picture of his role.
Wiggins has been dominant this year operating as a de facto point guard at times. During the 2017-18 season, Wiggins fell off, averaging only 17.7 points per game.
This drop-off was due to the presence of Jimmy Butler. Wiggins needs to be the dominant ball-handler. Having a player like Butler take away his touches and initiating offense in crunch time made Wiggins revert back to a timid and unsure spot up shooter.
Why the Magic do the deal
The Orlando Magic showed the rest of the NBA they are ready to win when they gave Nikola Vucevic a four-year, $100 million contract last offseason. Their roster, on the other hand, shows a lack of focus and direction.
The Magic also have Gordon under contract, a developing Jonathan Isaac, and Al-Farouq Aminu making $29 million over the next three years. Those three players are all best suited to play the power forward position.
Enter Andrew Wiggins, and this roster gains some focus and direction. With his recent surge and career numbers, he’s finally started to play in to the max contract he signed two years ago. Something needs to change in Orlando. Their team isn’t getting it done, they’ve been stuck in the lottery since Dwight Howard’s departure in 2012. The Magic are looking to build on their lone playoff berth from last season, and to do that they need to make a big change.
As a former Rookie of the Year, Wiggins has all the skills and tools necessary to help lead this team. By dealing Gordon and Mo Bamba, the Magic are using two young developing players to bring in an All-Star-caliber scorer and playmaker to pair with Vucevic.
Why the Warriors do the deal
For the Golden State Warriors, this deal is simple. D’Angelo Russell was never going to be a strong fit with a healthy Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Curry and Russell are both ball-dominant point guards.
Russell is on borrowed time, making a trade inevitable. This deal is about their future.
Robert Covington and Teague are both savvy veterans who would fit in immediately with this team. When they’re all healthy, Covington will slot between Thompson and Draymond Green perfectly as a career 35.8 percent 3-point shooter. He’s able to play the 4 in small-ball lineups and can guard bigger forwards in the league.
With Teague, the Warriors get a solid point guard to play out the rest of the year on an expiring contract, which will give the Warriors cap space to play with next summer.
The last piece of this deal, other than the two first-round picks, is Bamba. He’s stuck in a frontcourt logjam in Orlando. Finding a new home in Golden State allows him to show some of the potential that made him the No. 6 pick of the draft.
He’s under contract through the 2020-21 season with a team option for 2021-22. If he doesn’t work out for the Warriors, they can cut ties fairly easy with no remorse.
The Warriors are setting themselves up with more draft capital, cap flexibility, a young piece to try and develop, and a premier 3-and-D wing on a team friendly contract.
The Magic get a dominant scorer to help lead a playoff charge and pair with Nicola Vucevic.
And finally, the Timberwolves pair Towns with one of his best friends and, more importantly, a dynamic All-Star guard, creating a new elite NBA duo.