NBA Trade Rumors: Should Timberwolves tremble over latest Suns scorcher?

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

If you wondered what the Minnesota Timberwolves were thinking a year ago when trading five players and numerous first-round draft picks to the Utah Jazz for All-Star center Rudy Gobert, then you had better sit down for this one. As expected, the Washington Wizards are now reported to have reached an agreement with an NBA Western Conference powerhouse, the Phoenix Suns, to send a very expensive All-Star guard Bradley Beal their way.

In return, the Wizards will welcome Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and a number of draft picks that include first-round pick swaps as well as second-round picks. While that may not seem/feel like a huge haul for a player who was highly coveted, the deal is still a bit open-ended as the Wizards and Suns have agreed to the inclusion of a third team in this trade in order to find a suitable home for Chris Paul. That could mean additional valuable assets for the Wizards are on their way.

The key now for the Phoenix Suns is their depth or lack of it. It’s an 82-game regular season, and the challenge with the Phoenix Suns’ current roster is that it is incredibly top-heavy and there are no players on the bench. None. Not one.  How bad is it?  Check this out.

And that means that the Phoenix Suns could be filled with a stock-exchange trade frenzy this offseason just to assemble a meaningful roster.

But didn’t we talk about how the Minnesota Timberwolves could be penalized with the latest NBA/NBPA agreement? We did, and it’s all coming down hard on the Phoenix Suns like an avalanche right now. So how do the Phoenix Suns’ finances look after the terms of this latest trade?

In a word, ugly.

In the end, does this help or hurt the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances in the 2023-24 NBA season, and ultimately whether or not the Timberwolves earn a berth in the 2024 NBA Playoffs?

That’s a tough call, as the Suns will almost certainly trade away center Deandre Ayton to create some cap space. That puts the Suns among the top suitors for Timberwolves’ backup center Naz Reid (which we will cover in our next article). But it also means that the Phoenix Suns will be even more dependent on remaining healthy than the Minnesota Timberwolves were in the 2022-23 NBA season. Can they rely upon a 100 percent healthy roster? Let’s go down over the list:

Kevin Durant – played 47 games
Devin Booker – played 53 games
Bradley Beal – played 50 games
Deandre Ayton – played 67 games, likely to be traded

So of the four elite players listed, and the 328 game opportunities that they had, the quartet contributed just 217 games or just 66 percent of the 2022-23 regular season games amongst the four. Could it all work out for the Suns? Perhaps. But that really feels like a lot of absenteeism for a roster that has swollen to well over the luxury cap with those same four players.

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The NBA Western Conference is transforming once more. What will the repercussions be for this trade? Stay tuned, it’s going to be a wild off-season once more.