Minnesota Timberwolves Rumors: Wolves trying to land Tyrese Haliburton

Tyrese Haliburton of the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
Tyrese Haliburton of the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /

Rumors are swirling that the Minnesota Timberwolves are doing what they can to select Tyrese Haliburton in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Much has been made about whom the Minnesota Timberwolves will draft with the No. 1 pick, and for good reason.

Will the Wolves draft LaMelo Ball, despite redundancies with D’Angelo Russell? Or will they take Anthony Edwards, a theoretically perfect fit with the roster but a player with serious flaws? Might they surprise everyone and draft 7-footer James Wiseman to pair with Karl-Anthony Towns as a sort of modern-day Twin Towers?

Among trade-back targets, the most popular names mentioned have been Dayton’s Obi Toppin, a dream offensive fit next to Towns in the frontcourt, and Devin Vassell, the best 3-and-D prospect in this year’s class.

But a name that has gotten a lot of attention recently is that of Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton.

The Minnesota Timberwolves may be scheming to land Tyrese Haliburton

Haliburton is a 6-foot-5 guard with an impressive 6-foot-8 wingspan. He’s a solid two-way player who would immediately improve the Wolves’ defense with his length and intelligence and add an intriguing element of playmaking on the offensive end of the floor.

Modest athleticism and a perceived cap on Haliburton’s ceiling are to blame for him not getting consistent steam in the top three the draft, but there’s been plenty of recent steam to suggest that he could be in play as early as pick No. 4.

If the Wolves aren’t going to take him first — and they definitely aren’t going to do that — and trade-backs have reportedly been difficult to work out to this point, how might they go about landing Haliburton?

The first credible mention of the Wolves’ interest in Haliburton came from early November, when the Midwest-based and longtime Journal Times reporter Gery Woelfel reported that the Wolves and Golden State Warriors both had “keen interest” in the Iowa State guard. Woelfel also noted that Minnesota’s front office had spoken with Haliburton  “on multiple occasions”.

The rumor received more attention this week when floated by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor a few days ago, along with a possible path for the Wolves to get into position to trade for Haliburton.

O’Connor again asserted the Wolves’ interest in Haliburton in the latest iteration of his mock draft. Ultimately, he mocked Haliburton the the New York Knicks at No. 8.

So, what about Haliburton’s fit in Minnesota? We fully profiled Haliburton’s strengths, weaknesses, and fit with the Timberwolves a couple of weeks ago, but let’s take a look at the high points.

While he’s more parts guard than an off-ball wing, Haliburton may fit perfectly as a secondary ball-handler in the Wolves’ offense. He’s a good shooter, knocking down 42.6 percent of 3-point attempts over two years in college, and he’s better off the catch than he is off the bounce.

His playmaking ability is probably top-five or six in the draft, and his understanding of where and when to pass the ball would be huge to add next to Russell in the Wolves’ backcourt.

Haliburton is a highly intelligent player, and what he would bring to the Wolves defensively would be huge.

If the Wolves were to trade Culver and the No. 17 pick to move up into the No. 6 to No. 8 range and pick Haliburton, then Haliburton would immediately be a rotational piece. Depending on what happens with restricted free agent Malik Beasley, he could even find himself as a starter.

Of course, if the Wolves keep No. 1 and draft either Ball or Edwards, then Halibuton would have a bit more competition for minutes — although he’s a much better defender than anyone the Wolves are likey to take first-overall, and that will help him get on the court.

Because of Haliburton’s high floor, it’s easy to see him as a plug-and-play contributor immediately. With both Haliburton and Okogie on the wing, the Wolves would likely only need Russell and Towns to elevate their defensive games a modest amount to have a passable defense.

According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Wolves are only likely to trade Culver in package for an established star, or as part of a deal to acquire assets that then could be used to acquire a star in short order.

On the other side of things, The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner says he’s heard that the Wolves have offered Culver and the No. 17 pick to several teams in the top 10 (subscription required) in their search for another high pick, and not just Atlanta.

There’s also the possibility that the Wolves trade down from No. 1 and pick up an asset along with drafting Haliburton, which is probably Minnesota’s preference but may be difficult to pull off.

Next. One Wolves trade with every lottery team. dark

At any rate, there’s a clear target for the Wolves in the back-half of the top 10 that fans should keep an eye on. Now, the question is if (and how) Gersson Rosas and Co. can land the pick required to take him.