Grading the Timberwolves’ potential trade prospects

Feb 10, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32, center) and guard D'Angelo Russell (0, left) listen to coaching instruction during a time out against Toronto Raptors in the first half at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to make blockbuster trades following trade rumors toward the end of July. The team came off an underwhelming season, holding 13th place in the Western Conference with 23 wins and 49 losses. However, the Timberwolves missed their core for a chunk of the season. The young core consists of star Karl-Anthony Towns, D'Angelo Russell, and rookie Anthony Edwards.

Towns and Russell missed a combined 52 games this season. With their stars out and a rookie Edwards, the team's struggles were expected. Regardless, the front office is rumored to want change and move on from the trio.

There are four major trade rumors in Minnesota. To analyze each one, it is important to see what exactly the Timberwolves need. The team needs to improve its defense as they ranked 28th in the league last season. Therefore, trading for the best defensive players is ideal.

However, while the team needs defense, they cannot overreact about their lack of offense when their core was out. When the Timberwolves had Towns, Russell, and Edwards on the court, they had an offensive rating of 123.8. The Nets hold the best offensive rating in the NBA with only 117.3. Therefore, the team must hold onto their stars and let them develop together as exceptional offensive players.

The best trade scenarios will be when the team improves its defense without compromising their underrated, talented offense.

Trading for Ben Simmons

Apr 3, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) is guarded by Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels (3) at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The first trade rumor scenario involves a trade between the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons just came off of poor performance in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but his star power is still in shape. He is one of the best defensive players in the league, exactly what the Timberwolves need.

Also, the Timberwolves have guys who can shoot, including Edwards, Okogie, and even Towns. Simmons could thrive in this scenario by drawing pressure from the defense and relieving pressure from shooters. Furthermore, Simmons has excellent playmaking skills to find open teammates on the three-point line.

However, if the Timberwolves want to trade for Simmons, they would likely have to give up D'Angelo Russell. Although Simmons is a better all-around player, it is apparent that the trio of Russell, Edwards, and Towns is dominant offensively. Nonetheless, improving defense can always help a team succeed, and the front office should consider this trade.

Grade: B

Trading for Pascal Siakam

Feb 19, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) in action against Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) in the first quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

This potential trade scenario would acquire Pascal Siakam for two future first-round picks, Ricky Rubio, Jarrett Culver, and Malik Beasley.

Trading for Siakam would be a huge upgrade for the team. Not only is Siakam a great offensive player, but his defense is exceptional, which fills the defensive void for the team. Also, he can score from anywhere on the court and adds another lethal weapon on offense. Another benefit of this trade is that the team does not have to give up their core trio.

However, by trading for Siakam, the team would lose its depth for more power in their starting lineup. Malik Beasley is a stud on offense, averaging 19.6 points per game at just 24 years old. Rubio and Culver are also both great pieces off the bench.

Furthermore, losing two first-round picks can be detrimental for a team that is in rebuild mode. Also, Siakam recently came off a down year, and the trade can be risky if the team does not succeed. Regardless, the idea of Towns, Russell, Edwards, and Siakam sounds scary, and the trade should be considered as a top idea for their trade rumors.

Grade: A-

Trading Karl-Anthony Towns

May 9, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) makes a basket as he gets fouled by Orlando Magic center Moritz Wagner (21) and shoots and one during the first half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This trade scenario sees the team trading away Towns to the Hornets for Gordon Hayward, PJ Washington, Vernon Carey Jr., and two future first-round picks.

PJ Washington has been exceptional for the Hornets. Also, he is fairly young, and he can develop into an even better player in the future. Also, Hayward is a great veteran player who can drop 20 a night and help the young core develop. Furthermore, the two future-first-round picks give the team some breathing room, meaning they do not have to win now. Instead, they can look to develop their players more and find future talent in the upcoming drafts.

However, obviously, this trade gives away their star player. Towns is one of the best centers in the league and one of the team's young core members. Although trading Towns can give the team more time to develop, this trade does not need to happen yet.

The trio of Edwards, Towns, and Russell needs a full season together to assess them fully. Again, this season the trio posted a 123.8 offensive rating, which is better than any team in the NBA. Therefore, the team should wait before splitting up their stars.

Grade: C+

Trading for Myles Turner

Jan 15, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner (33) shoots during the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This trade scenario involves acquiring Myles Turner from the Pacers for Jarrett Culver and Malik Beasley. This is the best scenario out of all the trade rumors.

Myles Turner would be a great addition to the team because he is a top 10 center and makes up for their weaknesses. Towns is an exceptional center, but his weakness is rim protection. He is not dominant in the paint on defense, but Turner is. Therefore, if the team acquired Turner, they can let Towns run as a power forward because of his natural shooting abilities. Meanwhile, Turner would take Towns' responsibility of guarding the rim in the paint.

Also, there are not many cons for the team by making this trade. Yes, losing Culver and Beasley affects the team's depth, but they still get to keep their core of stars. The front office should look into this trade if the Pacers agree, as it allows their offense to stay elite while improving their lackluster defense.

Grade: A+

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