The Minnesota Timberwolves need to acquire more talent this offseason. Whether it is pursuing another big star or surrounding the existing roster with sufficient pieces, something has to be done to improve the team. Regardless, it never hurts to explore the trade market, and Gersson Rosas has done exactly that over the course of his first year.
Before any offers can be constructed, the status of players on the team has to be looked at. Pending free agents (either restricted or unrestricted) cannot be traded. This takes Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, and Jordan McLaughlin out of the players available to be moved.
It is public knowledge that neither Karl-Anthony Towns nor D’Angelo Russell is getting traded. Those two are likely untouchable given how the organization values them. They take up a combined $60 million in 2020-21, which is roughly half of the salary cap.
After that, the main assets that the Timberwolves could use to acquire players through trade are Jarrett Culver, Jake Layman, Josh Okogie, James Johnson (assuming he accepts his player option), Minnesota’s 2020 first-round draft pick, and Brooklyn’s 2020 first-round draft pick.
Wendell Carter, Big, Chicago Bulls
This trade is all about optimizing Karl-Anthony Towns. While Culver has been promising as of late, the ability to bring in Carter as the PF/C next to Towns is great. He’s got good interior defense and can stretch the floor in some capacity (albeit not perfectly, yet).
Carter is a risk though. He’s a relatively young prospect that has had some injury concerns during his short career. Carter has played just 87 total games over the course of the past two years — 43 in 2018-19 and 44 in 2019-20.
Losing Jarrett Culver is not ideal, but he has been overall disappointing this year, especially after being a consensus top-4 prospect.
Spencer Dinwiddie, Guard, Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets hardly had Kyrie Irving this year. Kevin Durant also was out the entirety of the year. Spencer Dinwiddie proved to be an above-average role player, being able to hold the Nets in playoff contention.
Irving returning next year probably means Dinwiddie returns to the bench. However, it is possible the Nets look to add another wing in his place for depth.
Dinwiddie is a creative pass-first point guard that has experience playing next to Wolves guard D’Angelo Russell. Bringing him in would mean moving Russell to the two-guard spot and allow him to be more of a secondary initiator rather than having to do most playmaking.
In this proposed deal, the Timberwolves also shed James Johnson’s $15 million contract (should he accept his player option).
The Wolves would have to re-work their already struggling wing depth after losing the defensive specialist that is Josh Okogie, though. They retain Jarrett Culver but lose Okogie, Layman, and the Nets’ first-round pick.
Mikal Bridges, Forward, Phoenix Suns
Mikal Bridges is currently coming off of the bench for a Suns team that drafted Cam Johnson in the lottery this past season. He’s averaging nine points, four rebounds, and two assists in his second year in Phoenix on splits of 52/35/84. While Bridges’ defense has taken a slight hit, he still remains a top 3-and-D target that would slide in perfectly on almost any team.
The Suns have brought in Kelly Oubre and Cam Johnson since drafting Bridges and will have a lottery pick this year. Mikal Bridges is 23-years old and still on a rookie contract. He fits with the timelines of Towns and Russell as well as bringing an impact now. He is likely going to be better than anyone the Timberwolves can get with the Nets pick.
The Wolves also do not sacrifice any young players in this deal.