The Minnesota Timberwolves should not try to acquire Aaron Gordon.
Sure, Malik Beasley has a shot to become that, and there’s still plenty of upside left in Jarrett Culver, but neither is a tried-and-true star as of yet, and legitimate questions remain about each of them.
We also know that Gersson Rosas is ultra-aggressive; he effectively turned over 13 roster spots in 10 month, and some of them more than once.
That means that more change is on the horizon, and there are a handful of names that won’t go away as potential trade targets being discussed in the media.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Aaron Gordon is not a fit with the Wolves
While there isn’t an official new rumor linking Orlando big man Aaron Gordon to the Wolves, his name keeps surfacing as a potential trade target.
We know that the Wolves had conversations with the Orlando Magic related to Gordon prior to the trade deadline . The talks likely centered around Robert Covington, as the Magic were in the midst of a somewhat surprising playoff push and the Wolves were ready to cash in on their biggest trade piece.
Ultimately, Covington ended up in Houston as part of a three-team deal, and Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez were in Minnesota as the biggest pieces to be moved in the massive swap.
Now, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey brings up Minnesota as a potential trade target, quoting a Forbes piece in which an Eastern Conference executive says that Gordon is the “most likely big name to be traded”.
The Wolves are one of four teams named, and in Bailey’s mind, Gordon could “theoretically” improve their defense while being a reliable third option on offense as defenses focus on Towns and Russell. There’s also the thought that Gordon could function as a secondary playmaker of sorts as he has at times in Orlando.
The problem with this thinking is that Gordon isn’t a good defender. While he’s only 24 years old and can certainly improve, it would be a fool’s errand to add a third bad defender who will be tasked with guarding multiple positions.
Worst yet, Gordon also isn’t an efficient offensive player.
His 3-point shooting percentage plummeted from a decent 34.9 percent in 2018-19 to just 30 percent this year. His Effective and True Shooting percentages also dropped, too. The silver lining was an increasing assist rate with a decrease in turnover rate, plus a bit of an uptick in free throw rate.
But do the Wolves want to add another below-average defender and below-average shooter and declare him their third-best player?
Currently, Beasley holds that title, and while he’s a below-average defender and incapable of guarding 3s and 4s, he’s a fantastic shooter and dangerous transition player. He also should cost less; Gordon is owed roughly $34.5 million over the next two seasons and Beasley should get somewhere in the neighborhood of $10-12 million per year in restricted free agency this offseason.
If the Wolves could take a flier on Gordon for minimal cost (something like James Johnson‘s expiring $15.8 million and a second-round draft pick), then the upside is absolutely worth the attempt. But if Minnesota has to give up a first-round pick or any other assets, such as Culver or Josh Okogie, then the tenuous fit wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
This is a rumor that we’ll have to keep an eye on throughout the offseason, although it doesn’t feel nearly as inevitable as, say, the persisting Russell rumor that eventually came true.