3 reasons why Timberwolves won 3-team trade, and why so few get it

Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves News NBA Trade Deadline D'Angelo Russell Mike Conley Jr.
Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

Other instant grades

How have other NBA websites graded the transaction? Well, there is a lot to say about the trade, but you have to understand that there is a major market bias to many of the NBA sports media, and with that, the collective opinions will steer more positively to the LA Lakers than to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Let’s take a look so you can see what I mean:

The Athletic

The Athletic have a good perspective and as a result, are not pulled to please the masses by skewing their objectivity.

Their Instant grades are:
Timberwolves: A-
Jazz: B+
Lakers: B

CBS Sports

CBS Sports was less enamored with the Lakers and Timberwolves pieces, but they adored the Utah Jazz return.  Sam Quinn, the author of the instant analysis, completely glosses over the fact that the major component of this trade is the salary dump of Russell Westbrook by the Lakers. He sees that Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick as an almost certainty to land in the Top-10, a precarious presumption.  And he assesses 0 value to the three second-round draft picks that the Timberwolves got in the deal.

Their Instant grades are:
Timberwolves: C-
Jazz: A+
Lakers: C+

SB Nation

SB Nation did not get impressed much either, but they certainly did fawn over the LA Lakers in this trade. They see the young additions to the Lakers roster as immediate upgrades across the board, and their flowery praise suggests that the Lakers are on the cusp of winning 20 of their final 27 games as a result. We’ll see.

But the problem with their assessment shows plainly when they turn to the Timberwolves part of the trade. They graded the Timberwolves exclusively on the Conley for DLo swap. Of course, without understanding the Timberwolves’ roster complexity, it’s easy to be critical.

Their Instant grades are:
Timberwolves: C+
Jazz: B
Lakers: A+

USA Today

USA Today was a bit less critical, but they gave the Timberwolves the least grade of the bunch. The Jazz ended up with the top grade, which is almost humorous considering the fact that they received one first-round pick in 2027, and had to give up two solid players and two second-round picks to get it. And here’s the best part. If the Lakers’ 2027 first-round pick falls within the Top-4, the Jazz must settle for a 2027 second-round pick. For a huge salary dump? Um, that’s not an A grade in my book

Their Instant grades are:
Timberwolves: B-
Jazz: A
Lakers: B+