As the trade deadline approaches, more and more rumors and reports alike come to light. Sitting in second place in the Western Conference with a 35-15 record, the Timberwolves have arguably their best squad since the 2003-04 season.
For the first time in years, the Timberwolves are solidified buyers. After making a deal to acquire veteran point guard Mike Conley at last year's trade deadline, Minnesota has won 45 of 69 contests.
The addition of Conley has truly paid dividends. Conley ranks second on the team in both plus-minus and net rating. He's been a stabilizing force, connecting on 44.0 percent of his field goals, 43.6 percent of his triples, and 91.5 percent of his free throws.
Furthermore, as the pilot of the offense, the 36-year-old floor general is only averaging 1.1 turnovers per game. He ranks third in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Seemingly attempting to replicate last year's success story, the Timberwolves are scouring the trade market to improve several aspects of the roster. While the need for a backup behind Conley persists, Minnesota is also attempting to trade for 3-and-D wings.
Brett Siegel of Clutch Points mentioned the Timberwolves as one of Brooklyn Nets' forward Royce O'Neale's many suitors. Aside from Minnesota, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, and Sacramento Kings are all interested in the 30-year-old wing.
The veteran wing is averaging 7.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 24.3 minutes per game. A career 38.1 percent shooter from deep, O'Neale is knocking down 1.9 triples at a 36.4 percent clip this season.
Defensively, O'Neale is capable of defending all five positions. He's spent 53.8 percent of his time defending forwards, 36.7 percent defending guards, and 9.5 percent defending centers. Standing at just 6-foot-6, the average height of his five most defended players is nearly 6-foot-9.
Opponents are shooting a percentage point worse with O'Neale as the primary defender on two-point field goal attempts. He's a versatile defender, quick enough to stay in front of guards and burly enough to bang with bigs in the post.
On offense, O'Neale is the perfect low-usage, 3-point threat. Two-thirds of his looks are off the catch. He also favors the three-ball. Nearly 82 percent of his looks come from beyond the arc. And when he shoots it from deep, he's open. 63.8 percent of his triples are deemed "wide open," and he's nailing 42.2 percent of those attempts.
One of O'Neale's potential suitors, Phoenix, offered two second-rounders and forward Nassir Little for the Brooklyn forward. The Timberwolves could concoct a similar offer, following suit and dangling two second-rounders alongside a player such as Troy Brown Jr.
For all the latest on Timberwolves trade rumors and their pursuit of Nets' forward Royce O'Neale, be sure to stay tuned.