We’re officially into trade season, and while there are all kinds of creative and exciting trade ideas floating around, there are also some terrible ones. That includes one particular suggestion from ESPN’s Bobby Marks regarding the Timberwolves.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks has a terrible trade idea for the Timberwolves
Bobby Marks was a longtime front office member for the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, rising as high as assistant general manager. He’s spent the last several years as an insider for ESPN.
Often, his commentary is solid. In this particular instance, it was not.
As part of an early trade deadline preview piece (subscription required) entitled “2022 NBA trade deadline: What to watch and potential deals for all 30 teams,” Marks simply, well, missed the mark.
While the write-up was solid, acknowledging that Sachin Gupta and the Wolves front office need to identify if anyone not named Karl-Anthony Towns or Anthony Edwards could be moved in a deal to improve the high-end talent on the roster, the conclusion of a potential trade was a major miss.
What was the proposed trade, you ask? Check it out:
While Taurean Prince has had the worst season of his career to this point by almost any measure, this makes absolutely zero sense.
First of all, Terrence Ross isn’t markedly better than Prince in any single area, including outside shooting and defense.
While he’s only a slightly better career shooter from beyond the arc, Prince shot 40 percent on 3-point attempts last year while Ross hasn’t shot above league average from deep since the 2018-19 season and has shot only 32.5 percent on threes going back to the start of last season.
Prince is also more flexible as a defender with the ability to guard multiple positions and fill in at the 4 in small-ball lineups. Most defensive metrics, including ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus, are essentially a wash between the two over the past few years.
And that brings us to the issue of roster balance. The Wolves already have a big of a logjam on the wing, with Patrick Beverley and Edwards in the starting lineup and microwave scorer Jaylen Nowell knocking on the door for more minutes. Factor in head coach Chris Finch’s preference to play Jaden McDaniels at the 3 and the desire to play Josh Okogie more in certain matchups, and it’s hard to see where Ross would find minutes.
Prince is a fringe member of the rotation as it is, and his ability to play the 4 is more valuable to the Wolves than the potential of Ross’s ability to fill in at the 2.
Now, consider the contracts. Prince has an expiring $13 million contract this season. Ross, on the other hand, is owed $11.5 million next season. Acquiring Ross would save marginal dollars against the cap this year, but immediately back-fill any potential cap relief that the Wolves are currently expecting for the upcoming summer.
Oh, and in Marks’ scenario, the Wolves are adding three first-round draft picks to the deal.
Why? Just, why? It would be bad for roster balance, a wash (at best) in the shooting and defense departments, have a negative impact on finances for 2022-23, and cost the Wolves draft capital.
Don’t worry, Sachin Gupta no doubt would feel the same way. The Timberwolves will stay away from this disaster of an idea.