Grade the Trade: KAT for Dame. Timberwolves Trail Blazers blockbuster proposal

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Rumors Tim Connelly Damian Lillard Karl-Anthony Towns
Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports /

Timberwolves Trade package

The challenge for any trade that involves the Minnesota Timberwolves and the intention of acquiring veteran point guard Dame Lillard runs along two different but very difficult tracks. The first, and the track that is the most important in the eyes of the Portland Trail Blazers.  In essence, the trade package must be significant enough for the Trail Blazers to spend their time considering its value.

But the greater challenge, and the challenge that the NBA will likely hold as the standard for the success or failure of any trade package offered, is the salary exchange. In the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team that is already looking at a payroll that will be bursting in the 2024-24 NBA season, that all but dictates that center/power forward Karl-Anthony Towns is the main component in any trade package offered by the Timberwolves.

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Grade the trade

With that established, we can begin to add the pieces. To balance the salary disparity between Lillard and Towns, the Timberwolves would likely add veteran point guard Mike Conley Jr. to the deal.  In return, the Trail Blazers could be willing to include center Jusuf Nurkic to balance out the salaries. Now, what about draft picks?

That is where this deal gets very tricky. The Timberwolves have committed all tradeable first-round picks to the Utah Jazz. That leaves first-round pick swaps (see Suns trade for Bradley Beal) and some second-round picks to round out the offer:

The first-round pick swaps can be adjusted if the Timberwolves include another player in the trade scenario. But, as a rule of thumb, don’t look for the Timberwolves to agree with trading away either star shooting guard Anthony Edwards or star small forward Jaden McDaniels.