Reasons to Pass
One of the greatest challenges to adding a veteran player is the proper assessment of how well they will impact their new team. But even more importantly, how will the trade impact the rotations and lineup after the trade occurs? While there are undoubtedly advantages to pairing veteran point guard Damian Lillard with star shooting guard Anthony Edwards, will the upgrade over Mike Conley Jr. as the starting point guard outweigh the loss of Karl-Anthony Towns’ 20+ point production?
Lillard is 33 years old, which is why he wants to be traded now. Mike Conley Jr. Is 35 years old. In a best-case scenario, the Timberwolves are turning back the calendar two years at the critical point guard position.
As much as I want to cheer for a scenario that delivers an All-Star NBA point guard to the Minnesota Timberwolves roster, I fear that far too many undervalue Towns right now, and far too many overvalue Lillard right now. The clock is ticking for Lillard, which means that even he realizes that his NBA productive career is coming to a close.
I’d hate to be that team that sends a king’s ransom to the Portland Trail Blazers at such value as to be making installment payments for years to come, only to get a couple of years of NBA play out of him.
Reasons to Pursue
Fortune favors the bold. Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly understood that when he compensated the Utah Jazz with five players and four first-round draft picks to acquire All-Star center Rudy Gobert. But having done so, the job’s not done just yet.
Some believe that the Timberwolves’ experiment to place two bigs on the Timberwolves roster failed. I’m not convinced that the 29-game sample is enough to know one way or the other. In the meantime, the Timberwolves have pivoted to building their roster around Anthony Edwards. Adding an NBA great like PG Damian Lillard is a solid step in that direction.
Final Verdict: Pass
If you don’t know the way, don’t wander. The Timberwolves must be convinced that Karl-Anthony Towns has no value in pursuit of an NBA Championship. And like it or not, I don’t think that they are anywhere near that conclusion right now.