The Minnesota Timberwolves have an opportunity to improve their roster at the trade deadline. What's the best course of action to make that happen?
On offense, the Minnesota Timberwolves need another perimeter creator to lighten the load on Andrew Wiggins, and on defense they need a great on-ball defender that can also help Towns defend the pick-and-roll.
Robert Covington might have the best hands in the league on the defensive end of the floor, but his on-ball defense has led to a lot of perimeter breakdowns which is probably why Rosas believes he is best suited to play the power forward position. And so far Towns hasn’t shown the capability or awareness to erase perimeter breakdowns, so getting a better on-ball defender to help KAT would be a good move for the Wolves.
With Robert Covington’s salary around $12 million, the Wolves could do a straight-up trade for Justise Winslow.
This is a deal that makes a lot of sense for both teams.
For the Heat, they are in great position to potentially secure the second seed in the Eastern Conference and make a deep playoff run. However, their best shooters in the backcourt are Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, and Tyler Herro, who are all very young and probably not ready to compete at a high level in the playoffs at this point in their respective careers.
Robert Covington would be the veteran shooter that the Heat need, and since Miami plays a lot of zone defense, Covington’s weaknesses in on-ball defense would be hidden and his off-ball instincts would flourish.
For the Wolves, the 23-year-old Justise Winslow would match Towns and Wiggins' timeline perfectly, and bring many of the skills that the Wolves need.
Winslow still has a lot of upside and is on a very affordable contract for another 2.5 years giving Rosas a lot flexibility moving forward.
He took a leap last year by showing that he can be a primary ball-handler that can excel in a drive-and-kick system, which would help lessen Andrew Wiggins’ load in the playmaking department. Also, Winslow has developed into a decent three-point shooter, hitting around 38% of his shots from deep over a two-year span before this season, which would help him contribute as an off-ball player when Wiggins is initiating the offense.
Winslow is also legit on the defensive end of the floor, and at 222 pounds he has the body to defend the best wings in the league, including Kawhi Leonard or LeBron James. He also has the quickness to defend smaller players which would make him much more versatile than Covington for the Wolves. And in the pick and roll, Winslow has the strength to fight through screens with the length to contest shots from behind which would really help Towns.
Given that professional sports is all about what have you done for me lately, Winslow’s trade value is very low since he's only participated in 11 games this year due to injury, so the Wolves could actually ask for more in this trade. Since the Wolves have an extra roster spot, KZ Okpala is a minimum salary second round pick that could also be added in this potential deal.
Okpala is on a three-year deal with a ton of upside. The 6-foot-9 slasher is more athletic than Keita Bates-Diop, and KZ is a versatile defender that could be exactly what the Wolves need at power forward for the future.
With Winslow about to return from injury, Saunders can put Napier on the bench and surround Towns with four wings who can be versatile on both ends of the floor in Okogie, Culver, Wiggins, and Winslow. If Okogie and Culver make a significant leap by next year and Rosas spends wisely this offseason, the Wolves could be competitive again next season.