Minnesota Timberwolves: Evaluating 3 trade-back options with No. 1 pick

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Minnesota Timberwolves, Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers could be a Minnesota Timberwolves trade target. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Let’s look at some realistic trade-back options for the Minnesota Timberwolves with the No. 1 pick.

The Minnesota Timberwolves have myriad options regarding what to do with the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.

We’ve covered several of them already here at Dunking With Wolves, but a recent ESPN Plus article (subscription required) got us thinking more about the trade-back option.

Yes, the Wolves could draft someone. They could also trade for an established player.

Or, they could trade back in this year’s draft and pick up assets along the way. But how much would Wolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas need to get back to make such a move worth his while?

Minnesota Timberwolves: Evaluating 3 trade-back options with No. 1 pick

ESPN’s article features seven potential trades involving lottery picks. Three of the deals include the Wolves, and only one of them landed a bonafide superstar in Minnesota.

Let’s talk through those proposals with thoughts on why (or why not) these trades would make sense for the Wolves. Because this article is an ESPN Plus piece, we’re unable to recreate any of the commentary provided by ESPN’s analysts and insiders, but the trade options themselves are directly from the article.

To be clear: these proposals are some, but not all, of the ones in the ESPN piece, and the commentary and reaction to the trade options is entirely my own.

Wolves get picks in three-team deal

Timberwolves Get
No. 6 pick
2021 top-3 protected pick
Knicks Get
No. 1 pick
Hawks Get
No. 8 pick
No. 27 pick

In this weird, three-way swap of only draft picks, Minnesota sends the No. 1 overall pick to New York and gets back the Atlanta Hawks’ No. 6 selection in the draft, plus the Knicks’ pick next year.

While the Knicks won’t be good in 2020-21, getting a single pick back — and top-three protected, at that — simply isn’t enough to slide back five picks in the draft.

Kevin Pelton provided the commentary for ESPN and argued that the Wolves should still be able to pick Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton at No. 6, who he feels would be a strong fit for Ryan Saunders’ squad.

For the rest of the deal, the Hawks get the Knicks’ No. 8 and No. 27, which was originally the Clippers’ pick.

So, if you’re keeping track, the Hawks get the No. 27 to move back five spots and the Knicks give up the No. 27 and a non-top-three pick next year to get up to No. 1. And the Wolves are only compensated by that 2021 Knicks pick to slide back to No. 6.

This feels like … not enough compensation to move off of the No. 1 pick, weak draft class or not. If Rosas is going to move down, he needs more compensation than one pick.

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