The Timberwolves should stay away from Buddy Hield

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield could be a Minnesota Timberwolves trade target. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield could be a Minnesota Timberwolves trade target. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

ESPN recently floated a few potential Damian Lillard trade ideas, and the Minnesota Timberwolves were included in two of them.

In one of the proposed trades, the Wolves would land the Trail Blazers’ superstar guard. The other, however, sees Lillard going to the Sacramento Kings and the Wolves getting involved as one of four teams, ultimately landing sharpshooter Buddy Hield.

This potential deal, however, is one that the Wolves should stay far away from.

Why the Timberwolves don’t need Buddy Hield

On the one hand, the Wolves need shooting, and they need it badly.

As of today, Karl-Anthony Towns is the only Wolves player shooting above league-average from 3-point range this season. The rest of the roster has woefully underperformed, and it’s most apparent when Towns is double-teamed on the catch and kicks the ball to the perimeter, only to watch teammate clank a shot off the rim.

If the Timberwolves want to stay in the playoff conversation, they must improve their 3-point shooting. However, that could easily come from expected internal improvement; the likes of Patrick Beverley, D’Angelo Russell, Taurean Prince, and Malik Beasley are all shooting career-low percentages from outside the arc through the first quarter of the season.

At some point, those numbers will bounce back. They have to.

In the meantime, it may be tempting for the Timberwolves front office to go out and find shooters. While a reasonable goal, ESPN’s recent Lillard-centric article suggested that the Wolves get involved in what would ultimately be a horrendous trade.

The proposed deal from ESPN that sends Buddy Hield to the Timberwolves

ESPN is suggesting that Lillard could end up in Sacramento in a four-team deal (subscription required) that would also include the Timberwolves and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Wolves part would be sending out Beverley, Jaden McDaniels, Jake Layman, and a pair of second-round picks. For their trouble, they’d take back Hield and Cody Zeller.

At first glance, there’s a pitch to be made here. The Wolves would add a 40.1 percent career 3-point shooter in Hield who has averaged north of 19 points per game twice and a solid veteran big man in Zeller.

However, the Wolves would be giving up McDaniels, who has two-and-a-half years left on his rookie deal and has impressive all-around upside. Not to mention, he’s one of the Wolves best two or three defenders, and they’d be taking back Hield, who is horrendous on that end of the floor.

They’d also lose Beverley, and while the veteran guard is on an expiring contract, he’s added an edge to the Wolves and skill to the defense that has never really existed. Additionally, Jon Krawczynski reports on the Talk North podcast that the Wolves and Beverley have had cursory talks about a contract extension.

Add in the two second-rounders, and it makes no sense for the Wolves to take this particular plunge.

Hield’s shooting, which has generally been above-average, has cratered to 35.3 percent this season, which would easily be a career-worst mark. He’s also continued to get worse defensively, and in his age-29 season, there isn’t much hope for him to become passable on that end of the floor.

And then there’s the contract. Hield is owed more than $39 million over the next two seasons, which will take him through his age-31 season. Again, this is a defensive liability whose offensive game is entirely limited to volume 3-point shooting.

The Wolves would be far better off waiting for their own players to improve their individual 3-point percentages — again, all four of the aforementioned players are not going to end up having career-worst seasons from beyond the arc — than they would be giving up actual assets for the right to overpay a post-prime Buddy Hield.

Next. On ESPN's idea to send Lillard to the Wolves.... dark

Sorry, ESPN, and sorry, Kings fans. The Wolves would pass on this deal.