Timberwolves Roundup: Trade deadline chatter, new Wolves hire

Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant could be a potential trade target for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant could be a potential trade target for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2022 NBA Trade Deadline is less than a month away, and the Timberwolves are starting to be mentioned more frequently as a potentially active team. Plus, the Wolves have made another new front office hire.

Timberwolves Roundup: Early trade deadline chatter

Dating back to last year’s trade deadline, the Timberwolves have been mentioned as possible suitors for stars including Ben Simmons, Myles Turner, and John Collins.

While rumors cooled over the past few months, things are starting to heat back up as we draw closer to the Feb. 10 deadline.

We covered the latest on Simmons and Turner a few days ago, and while not much has changed on that front, we have a couple of other names to consider courtesy of The Athletic’s John Hollinger.

Hollinger spoke with Aaron Gleeman, normally of the Minnesota Twins beat but pinch-hitting for some Wolves duty during the MLB lockout, regarding the Wolves’ somewhat surprising first half of the season and what they might do at the upcoming deadline (subscription required).

Before the season, Hollinger seemed to think that the Wolves’ ceiling would be that of a play-in team with a “median outcome” of finishing just outside the No. 10 spot. He now admits that the team is better than that, crediting the addition of Patrick Beverley and increased playing time for Jarred Vanderbilt as well as an incremental improvement on the defensive end of the floor for the Wolves’ Big Three.

Later in the discussion, Hollinger notes that the Wolves’ only truly valuable trade assets this side of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards are their upcoming draft picks.

The names mentioned by Hollinger as possible targets that would fit the Wolves’ needs are the Detroit Pistons’ Jerami Grant, whom the Wolves had confirmed interest in a couple of years ago in restricted free agency, and Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who is in the midst of a one of the best seasons of his career.

Grant is currently out with a thumb injury but once healthy would be an attractive option as a bouncy forward with adequate range and capable defensive chops. He is owed $20.9 million next year in the final year of his contract.

Barnes has a similar profile but is a bit more reliable on offense and not quite the defender that Grant is. He also has one year left on his deal and will make $18.3 million next season.

Both Detroit and Sacramento would presumably be on board with acquiring a draft pick or two and taking a swing on Malik Beasley, who would be needed to make the salaries match. If Beasley plays well during the balance of this season and next year, his new team could pick up the team option for 2023-24. If he continues to struggle, that team could cut bait or ship him somewhere else.

Timberwolves Roundup: Wolves hire new front office member

New minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez continue to work to modernize the Timberwolves organization in innovative ways.

The Wolves announced the hiring of Marquise Watts, most recently the President of Brand Strategy at Klutch Sports. He’ll become the team’s CXO — that’s Chief Experiences Officer — and will focus on player experience but also interface with the team’s business operations.

It’s yet another sign that the Wolves’ new ownership group, combined with Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta, are serious about changing the culture throughout the organization and making sure that the team can not only attract premier talent to the team but keep the best players with the Wolves and ensure that their experience in Minnesota is top-notch.

Next. ESPN has a terrible trade idea for the Wolves. dark

It will be fascinating to see what the next few weeks hold for the Wolves. Namely, will Gupta truly be a buyer at the deadline, or will the Timberwolves ultimately decide to stand pat and see what the current roster can do down the stretch of the season as they continue to grow together?