The Minnesota Timberwolves should not trade Malik Beasley for a minor upgrade

Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves don’t have a ton of trade assets that they’ll be excited to trade this offseason.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards aren’t going anywhere. It’s unlikely that D’Angelo Russell is traded. Young players on value contracts such as Jaden McDaniels, Naz Reid, and Jaylen Nowell aren’t likely to be moved, either.

Tradeable contracts with some combination of current value and upside such as Josh Okogie and Jarrett Culver won’t fetch much by themselves.

That leaves Ricky Rubio’s expiring $17.8 million and Malik Beasley’s $30 million over the next two years with a team option for 2023-24 as the most tradeable assets on the Wolves roster.

Beasley’s age and scoring upside make him a significantly more valuable asset, and that’s exactly why the dynamic wing won’t be traded in any deal that doesn’t massively improve the Wolves’ roster.

The Minnesota Timberwolves won’t trade Malik Beasley for a minor upgrade

Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report penned a piece entitled “Trades to replace the NBA’s most disappointing starters.” One of his targets was Los Angeles Lakers wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who is due roughly $27 million over the next two years.

We can argue about just how disappointing KCP actually is — he shot a career-best 41 percent on 3-pointers and remains a plus defender — but on the surface, he does appear to be somewhat overpaid in comparison to his raw production. Swartz correctly identified Beasley as an upgrade for the Lakers, who are coming off an extremely disappointing attempt at a title defense.

In his proposed trade, the Wolves would get Caldwell-Pope and the No. 22 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft in exchange for Beasley. It’s not terrible value for Minnesota; the Wolves’ defense would improve instantly and they wouldn’t be giving up much in terms of straight 3-point percentage.

But the level of dynamic play that Beasley provides in transition and even in the half court can’t be matched by Caldwell-Pope, who is best cast a fourth or fifth option offensively.

Because of the significant defensive upgrade that Caldwell-Pope would be over Beasley, a late first-round pick is probably about right in terms of making up the gap in all-around talent.

The question, however, is whether or not the Wolves would be champing at the bit to rock the boat simply to improve defensively, get worse on offense, lower the team’s overall ceiling, and pick up a late first-round pick?

While the Lakers would jump at this trade, It’s simply not worth it from the Wolves perspective. Beasley should not — and the bet here is that he, in fact, will no— be included in a trade that nets anything less than a true star in return.

After all, as soon as Beasley is traded, the Wolves would be out of true ammunition in any attempt to improve the roster significantly without dealing Towns, Russell, or Edwards.

The only way a Beasley trade for a non-star makes any sense would be if the Wolves had any indication that Beasley’s off-court issue may extend into or beyond this season. To this point, that has not been raised as an obvious concern.

Next. Draft targets if Wolves trade into second round. dark

At this stage, it’s more likely than not that Beasley is on the Wolves roster come opening night in October. If he isn’t wearing a Timberwolves uniform, however, then it likely means that a star newcomer (Ben Simmons? Bradley Beal? Myles Turner?) is in the fold.