The Minnesota Timberwolves have a tough decision ahead of them at the trade deadline that could alter the future of this franchise.
The Minnesota Timberwolves didn't really know what to expect from this team heading into the season with a first-year head coach and president of basketball operations in Ryan Saunders and Gersson Rosas.
When they got out to a hot 7-4 start, Wolves fans were starting to dream of another postseason appearance after missing out on the playoffs last year.
However, an 11-game losing streak in December and a knee injury that kept Karl-Anthony Towns on the sidelines for 15 games have caused the Timberwolves to slide down the Western Conference standings.
Despite all of that, Minnesota is only five games out of the eight seed in the West at the halfway point of the season, and KAT has looked healthy after returning to the floor for the past two games.
All of these factors make it difficult for the Wolves' front office to decide whether they should be aggressive in adding another piece for a playoff run, or if they should trade away one of their veteran players for some type of future asset.
Let's dive in to both sides of the argument to determine what Minnesota's best course of action is.
The fight for the eighth seed in the Western Conference has been pretty uninspiring this year.
Memphis, Phoenix, San Antonio, New Orleans, Portland, Sacramento, and Minnesota have been jumbled together in the standings all year long, but none of those teams have emerged as a favorite to get that final playoff spot.
Memphis currently has the eighth-best record while their young talent has started to play really well of late, but it's difficult to say they're anywhere close to locked in to a playoff appearance at this point of the season.
The Wolves currently sit at the bottom of that group tied with Sacramento for the 13th-best record, but they should start to rack up a few more wins now that Karl-Anthony Towns is healthy and contributing.
This team isn't necessarily built to win this year as they don't have a single player on their roster over the age of 30 after trading Jeff Teague back to Atlanta.
Minnesota has been focused on playing the right way under Ryan Saunders this season, even though they don't necessarily have the personnel to win with the three's and layups philosophy right now.
If the Wolves decide to be buyers, they'll certainly be looking to add some more shooting to this roster and maybe another ball-handler to fill the void left by Jeff Teague.
If they are able to make that type of move, they could be right back in the thick of the playoff race to make the postseason for just the second time since 2004.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns locked up to long-term deals, so they can afford to be patient in building up this young core.
Even with rumors of KAT's unhappiness earlier this season, Towns can't really force his way out of town as he's in the first season of a five-year deal.
The Wolves have drafted pretty well over the last few years, and Jarrett Culver has started to show why Minnesota was so aggressive in trading up for him in the draft with numerous strong performances over the last few weeks.
If Gersson Rosas wanted to add another asset to go along with Wiggins, KAT, and the rest of the Wolves' young core, it would probably come from trading away Robert Covington.
RoCo had a pretty rough start to the year after coming off of a season-ending knee injury last year, and it looked like Minnesota would be selling low on the three-and-D veteran forward if they decided to trade him. However, Covington has started to look like himself over the past month by flying around on defense and creating a ton of steals, and he's shooting nearly 40 percent from three during the month of January.
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There are plenty of contenders who would be happy to bring in a player with RoCo's incredibly valuable skillset for a championship run, including the Rockets, Sixers, and Mavericks according to The Athletic's Shams Charania (subscription required.)
If they could get a decent first round pick or a promising young player for Covington, it'd be difficult for the Wolves to say no even though RoCo is a great fit alongside Wiggins and Towns.
But the Wolves should not give up Covington for just any trade package because he's on a good contract through the 2021-22 season and he provides great leadership on this young squad.
If Minnesota finds a Covington trade that drastically improves their future outlook, then I would pull the trigger because I don't see this team making the playoffs this year.
If they don't, the Wolves could simply stand pat and set themselves up for a potential move this offseason while rebuilding this roster around Wiggins and Towns.
The Wolves' decision to be buyers or sellers this trade season isn't necessarily a binary one, but I would lean towards the seller option this year and try to add more future assets for veteran talent.