Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 dream trades for star players

D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves talks to Ryan Saunders. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves talks to Ryan Saunders. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Chris Paul

Minnesota Timberwolves, Chris Paul
Chris Paul #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 dream trades for star players

Why the Wolves Accept This Trade

Chris Paul has consistently been one of the best point guards in the NBA since entering the league in 2005, and while it was expected he would lose a step this season he is still leading the surprising Oklahoma City Thunder to the No. 5 seed in the tough Western Conference. Along the way, Paul is still putting up averages of 17.7 points, 6.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.6 steals.

Adding CP3 would allow the Wolves to move DLo to the shooting guard spot, which seems to be his most natural position. Russell has spent the majority of his career at point guard but he has played next to another point guard in Spencer Dinwiddie during his time in Brooklyn and has shown he is capable of playing at a high level at the 2.

Paul has also played most of his career as the only point guard on the floor. However, with the Oklahoma City Thunder he has played all but 27 minutes next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schröder, or both. His assist numbers have been down this season, but his field goal percentage is the highest it’s been since the 2009-10 season, and not having to bring up the ball has allowed him to put in more effort defensively.

Paul would bring much-needed help to the Wolves defensively. The Timberwolves need more players who are good point-of-attack defenders, and that is exactly what Paul is. CP3 has been a positive-defensive player every year he has been in the league and is incredible at collecting steals. He has been in the top 15 in steals every season, including top-3 eight times and currently sits eighth all-time in total steals.

The biggest challenge for the Wolves in a trade for Paul is filling out the rest of the roster; just under $100 million would be used on CP3, KAT, and DLo. However, if the Wolves are serious about winning and making the playoffs, they need to take risks and Paul is worth the risk. After all, he has made the playoffs in 11 of his past 12 seasons.

Why the Thunder Accept This Trade

Chris Paul will be entering next season at the age of 35. While he did not lose a step as expected, it is bound to happen soon. There is also the issue of $85.5 million over the course of the final two years of his contract and moving on from Paul for younger assets makes a lot more sense than keeping him.

Adding Beasley to their roster gives the Thunder flexibility in the backcourt. The Thunder have the option to move Schröder into the starting lineup, keep Gilgeous-Alexander at the 2, and start Beasley at the small forward spot. Or, keep Schröder on the bench, move Gilgeous-Alexander to the starting point guard spot, and slot Beasley in at the 2. Both lineups would be lethal and provide the Thunder with playmaking and shooting.

While James Johnson is added in the trade to make the money work he can provide OKC with a starting power forward in place of Danilo Gallinari if he decides to leave in free agency or a backup big who provides toughness and shooting. If Oklahoma City decides to move on from JJ they would have the ability to garner even more assets in a possible trade to a contending team as Johnson is on an appealing expiring contract.

CP3 is still one of the top point guards in the game but given his age and contract, he is a tough move for the Thunder. Being able to receive a young sharpshooter, a rugged frontcourt player, and another first-round pick to their already impressive stash of future draft picks would be a good haul for the future Hall-of-Famer.