Rumored three-team trade could be surprisingly good for Timberwolves

Russell Westbrook, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The NBA trade deadline will pass in less than 24 hours, and the Minnesota Timberwolves appear to be on the precipice of getting a deal done. Shams reported on Wednesday afternoon that Minnesota has been engaged in discussions with the Lakers and Jazz on a potential three-team trade.

The deal that the three clubs have discussed supposedly involves the Timberwolves sending D’Angelo Russell back to Los Angeles, the Jazz acquiring Russell Westbrook along with a potential first-round pick, and Minnesota taking back Mike Conley from Utah.

The way this trade was presented by Shams makes it appear as though serious conversations about the deal are being had, and it is not merely a loose rumor being floated. If one of the most prominent news breakers in the NBA landscape is reporting it, there is absolutely real credibility to this report.

An interesting caveat to this potential deal was explained by Woj. He tweeted that the Jazz and Lakers appear to have “significant deal structure” in place on this trade, but what determines if it will go through or not is likely hanging on the Timberwolves’ view of D’Angelo Russell and how much they feel they should be getting in return for him.

He also further confirmed what we already know, which is that Minnesota is currently engaged on trade talks involving Russell elsewhere as well. It is anyone’s guess where the Timberwolves will ultimately choose to send D-Lo if they do decide to move on from him.

The Timberwolves could end up in a better long-term situation by agreeing to this deal

But assuming they agree to this three-team offer with Utah and Los Angeles, the Timberwolves could be putting themselves in a better long-term position to be successful than if they decided to keep D’Angelo Russell. While we do not know all the details of this potential deal, flipping Russell for Mike Conley would have its advantages.

With Conley running Minnesota’s offense, the Timberwolves would have more of a naturally gifted playmaker at point guard than the high-scoring D’Angelo Russell. Conley would not be able to slice through defenses like D-Lo does, but his decision-making and on-ball defense would be a major plus for a team that already possesses multiple high-powered offensive options.

If Minnesota is able to do this deal while acquiring one of the Lakers’ picks, it would be a no-brainer to press the button. Many Timberwolves fans would be happy to keep D-Lo around, but if he is gone in the offseason regardless, a trade like this may be the perfect compromise.

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