The Minnesota Timberwolves have finally made the playoffs after a three-year wait. If we look at the bigger picture, this was the Timberwolves’ second postseason appearance since 2004. To build on that success, the Wolves have already taken a step and traded in for Rudy Gobert.
It’s emptied their pick bucket, but the Timberwolves can still seek deals in the league. There are some great players available, certainly types that would hardly consider Minnesota as a free hand. With that in mind, let’s look at two unrealistic trades Timberwolves need to attempt in the 2022 NBA offseason.
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Unrealistic trades by the Timberwolves in the 2022 NBA offseason
Timberwolves get Kyrie Irving; Nets get D’Angelo Russell
That’s about as direct as a trade can be. Both are point guards, both on one-year contracts, and both appear to be league shopped. Given that none should really offer the team a decent package, this is possibly the best offer available when we consider the quality of the players.
Ultimately, these two guys are incredible players in their own right and while Irving is considered the technically better, Russell has proven his worth over the past few years, especially at the Nets. Without further ado, let’s look at why these two teams pull off this deal.
On the Nets’ part, this just seems like a massive win. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Timberwolves would lose, but the Nets would win big here. Not only would they be getting rid of Irving, which is almost an afterthought if Kevin Durant ends up leaving, but they’re getting a fan favorite back.
After struggling with the Los Angeles Lakers, D’Angelo Russell came to his own game for the Brooklyn Nets. He turned the Eastern Conference bottom feeders team, which was stuck with no picks after that terrible trade with the Boston Celtics, into a surprise playoff team. He was sacrificed to bring in Durant and Irving, but there’s no doubt he’d be accepted back by the Brooklyn crowd who genuinely loved this Nets team, maybe even more than this super team.
It would be a great deal for the Timberwolves as this deal would give them a real championship window. Staying with Russell would mean the squad would be locked into that core and the reality is Russell, Edwards, Towns and Gobert don’t win a championship together.
However, Irving could win with them as he is the better player of the two. Given that Edwards is about to sign his maximum extension and Towns and Gobert have already resigned, there will be limited scope for Wolves, so getting Irving and possibly getting him to Minnesota for an extension would be a great deal to sign for the wolves. Even if it’s only a year, they still have a better chance of winning than with Russell.
Timberwolves get Harrison Barnes; Kings get Josh Okogie and Taurean Prince (Okogie would be S+T)
This isn’t the most bombastic deal ever, as Barnes isn’t exactly a superstar, and neither are Okogie and Prince. However, this would be a good deal for both sides as it would give them options to further advance their short- and long-term plans.
For Wolves, plans are said to be as strong as possible, aiming for a deep playoff run, possibly even a surprise run to the NBA Finals. For the kings, it means making room and building around De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Davion Mitchell. Let’s take a look at why this deal gives both teams exactly what they need.
The Kings are making this deal because Prince is a cheap option for its production, while Okogie won’t cost too much. They would send their third-best player in Harrison Barnes to the Timberwolves, but he’s on an expiring contract and if they were to trade him later in the year, getting Prince and Okogie would even be a pipe dream.
For their short-term plans, Okogie is a solid back-up who could thrive with more playing time, while Prince is a great defender on the wings with the ability to get hot off the three-point line. Both will cost less than $10 million annually, so it would be a good financial deal, especially since the alternative is losing Barnes for free.
On the Timberwolves side, they are making this deal to fill the last position that needs filling – the wings. They have Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns in the middle, D’Angelo Russell as the pointer and Anthony Edwards scoring from the guard positions.
Prince remains in the small forward position, and while solid, he’s not at Barnes’ level. In addition, the former Mavs and Warriors player has championship experience, winning everything with the dubs in 2015 and reaching the finals in 2016. As such, Barnes is a no-brainer for the Timberwolves, especially for this package.