Grade the Trade: Mock Towns trade results in wild haul from Rockets

Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves NBA Rumors Minnesota Timberwolves rumors Karl-Anthony Towns
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What does this trade look like

The premise of any trade begins with the motivation for teams to engage in such a deal. And truthfully, that is where this proposed trade seems to have missed the mark. In naming the Houston Rockets, Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes fails at step one, lobbying why the Houston Rockets would be the team to outbid all others for the services of Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns. So why do the Rockets do this?  In Hughes’ words

"‘Houston threw cash around like it was nothing in free agency, and it chased a much older floor-stretching center in Brook Lopez. Towns doesn’t bring the defense Lopez would have, but he scares opponents with much higher-volume and more accurate three-point shooting.’ – per B/R Grant Hughes"

That doesn’t do much to convince me, and I admittedly lean in the direction of the Minnesota Timberwolves.  So what does this trade look like:

In the scenario, the Minnesota Timberwolves acquire rookie guard Amen Thompson (after August 2, 2023), veteran forward Kevin Porter Jr., forward Jae’Sean Tate, a 2024 first-round pick (via BKN), and a 2026 first-round pick (via BKN) from the Houston Rockets for Karl-Anthony Towns. What does that look like in a trade graphic?

The trade would shift approximately $4.8 million of today’s salary cap burden off the books of the Minnesota Timberwolves and onto the books of the Houston Rockets. But the scenario is merely an attempt to validate a trade scenario by Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus written in June 2023 which attempts to improve the Houston Rockets’ chances of winning in order to improve their chances of trading for and landing Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden.

So we are left with these questions: Does this trade aid the Minnesota Timberwolves’ efforts to win now? Does this trade give the Rockets a fighting chance to land James Harden and remain competitive?