The Minnesota Timberwolves are still on the hunt for a second star, and they reportedly inquired with the Orlando Magic about Aaron Gordon’s availability.
The most popular name mentioned is Towns’ good friend and a player who would form a dynamic offensive pairing with Towns, Golden State’s D’Angelo Russell. Another friend of Towns, Devin Booker, is a name that has been brought up with some regularity as well.
But thanks to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer a new name has surfaced: Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.
Here’s the Wolves-related excerpt from a lengthy article covering the upcoming. trade deadline at large:
One team that makes sense for Gordon is Minnesota, which called Orlando about Gordon this season, according to league sources. It’s unclear what precisely was offered, but Minnesota is shopping Robert Covington. Just imagine Gordon rolling down the lane, then kicking it out to Karl-Anthony Towns, who could shoot a 3 or attack the closeout. The Wolves don’t have a true playmaker, but they could acquire one in Gordon.
The potential Gordon-Towns fit is one that yours truly has mentioned in the past, and while it may appear to be tenuous at first glance — there’s always a rush to want to pair a star guard with a star big man, which makes the Russell thing feel so much better — it actually could be a decent fit.
The idea of Gordon and Towns forming somewhat of a one-two punch, alternating as playmakers on the perimeter with the other diving from the opposite end of the floor or, in Towns’ case especially, popping out behind the arc for an open 3-point attempt, is an attractive one.
Gordon is an ultra-athletic, dangerous playmaker who can get into the paint off the dribble and score at the rim. He’s taken a step back this year across the board, although perhaps most worryingly on 3-point attempts, but he’s also still only in his age-24 season.
The problem in acquiring Gordon mostly lies in what the Wolves would be giving up to get him. While the upside of a Towns-Gordon duo is sky-high, the floor could also theoretically be lower than where they are now with Robert Covington playing the 4. And if Covington is the trade bait to land Gordon, then the Wolves would be swapping out one of their precious few 3-point threats for a guy who has made 28.6 percent of his long-range attempts this season and sits at just 31.7 percent for his career.
In order for the Wolves and Magic to deal directly, the Wolves would need to include $3.5 million in salary along with Covington. That would mean something like including Noah Vonleh and Jordan Bell, or some combination of younger players that Minnesota would likely rather not trade.
A three-team trade is more likely. Perhaps that’s how a team with few trade resources, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, could try to land a 3-and-D guy like Covington.
Something like this would work:
Orlando gets some limited salary relief in shaving a year off of Gordon’s deal to take on Dieng, who will expire after next season, and Cousins’ contract expires this summer as well. They also bring in some young, cheap talent with upside in Kuzma to compensate for the loss of Gordon.
The Lakers get their 3-and-D guy in Covington, who is a far better defender and more consistent all-around player than Kuzma, therefore making him a better fit for a title contender.
Admittedly, the Wolves would be taking the greatest risk, losing known commodities in Covington and Dieng to pair an up-and-down, almost-star in Gordon with Towns. But again, the upside is significant, and it would allow them the opportunity to play Gordon and Towns together for the rest of the year as they evaluate the fit.
There could always be the opportunity to flip Gordon in the near future if the need to free up additional cap space arose, as his contract is theoretically still more tradeable than Gorgui Dieng‘s is at the moment.
At any rate, this is somewhat of a half-baked trade possibility. There’s no indication other than this one rumor that the Wolves are necessarily in on Gordon. But it’s certainly a realistic possibility, and it also remains possible that Gordon is the ultimate prize for trading Covington, even if RoCo doesn’t actually end up in Orlando himself.
With the trade deadline only a week away, this is certainly one to keep an eye on.