Minnesota Timberwolves: Ranking trade value on the Wolves’ roster

James Johnson #16 and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
James Johnson #16 and Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves: Ranking trade value on the Wolves’ roster

The Most Tradeable

Minnesota Timberwolves, James Johnson
James Johnson of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

2. Jarrett Culver

Tradeability Score: 19.3 out of 30

  • Contract Value: 6.7/10
  • Market Value: 5.4/10
  • Rosas Factor: 7.2/10

Jarrett Culver struggled in his rookie season with the Wolves offensively, averaging just 9.2 points per game on 29.9 percent from three and a miserable 46.2 percent from the free throw line.

Culver was drafted No. 6 in last year’s draft, but his offensive game has not fully translated to the NBA. He did improve at the end of the season, shooting nearly 45 percent from beyond the arc after the trade deadline. Culver has been strong on defense for the Wolves, earning a respectable 109.3 defensive rating while covering some of the Wolves’ toughest defensive assignments.

Culver’s fit in the Wolves’ offense is questionable due to his streaky-at-best shooting and his struggles at the free-throw line. Rosas drafted Culver after the Wolves’ primary target, Darius Garland, was stolen off the board by Cleveland with the No. 5 pick in the 2019 draft, so Culver’s long-term value to the Wolves has long been in question. Rosas has likely question Culver’s fit in the offense and his ceiling as a shooter.

Rosas also has to consider Culver’s value on the trade market, because it is possible that his stock may never be higher. The more Culver continues to struggle offensively, the more his value to other teams shrinks. As a former top-10 pick who struggled in his first season, Culver’s potential may be leveraged by Rosas in a trade to bolster the Wolves’ frontcourt. Also, being on a rookie contract makes him very movable from a financial standpoint.

1. James Johnson

Tradeability Score: 20.3 out of 30

  • Contract Value: 7.6
  • Market Value: 7.8
  • Rosas Factor: 4.9

James Johnson is a strong defender and offensive facilitator, primarily from the power forward position. In his short time with the Timberwolves, Johnson has averaged 12.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

As a strong veteran leader, Johnson is very valuable to this young Wolves team. However, Johnson also has significant value on the trade market because of the nature of his contract. Assuming he will opt-in to the final year of his contract, Johnson is scheduled to earn just over $16 million next year.

This summer will bring a relatively weak free agent class along with a draft class that is also considered weak compared to past years. Because of this, it is possible that rebuilding teams may aim to create cap space for the 2021 summer to sign better free agents. A team like the New York Knicks may be interested in Johnson’s contract because it would free up $16 million of cap space to sign free agents after next season.

Also, the size of Johnson’s contract could help Minnesota trade for a third star with a max contract. Beyond his contract, Johnson would also be valuable to a team looking to make a championship run next year because of his defensive abilities, toughness, and leadership. Rosas knows how much value Johnson brings to the wolves, but he is not naive to his value on the trade market.

These tradeability metrics provide a way to quantify the factors that make players tradeable. The Minnesota Timberwolves have some tradeable players, but factors such as contract value, market value, and front office preference all factor into trade decisions.

Another tradable asset to keep an eye on is the Wolves’ two picks in the 2020 NBA draft, which is tradable due to the acquisition of the Nets’ first pick that currently sits at No. 16. Currently, the Wolves have as good of odds as any team to win the first-overall pick in the lottery, so that is a factor that must also be considered in the tradeability of players.

Next. 5 draft prospects to improve Wolves' shooting. dark

It will be interesting to see how Gersson Rosas plays his cards this offseason in his attempt to further the construction of a championship team in Minnesota.