OTG’s Trade Deadline Marathon: T’Wolves Trade to Temper Towns
GSW receives: Jeff Teague, Robert Covington, Minnesota's 2020 first-round pick, Minnesota's 2022 first-round pick.
MIN receives: D'Angelo Russell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Jacob Evans, Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III
Why the Warriors would do it: Russell was a part of the sign-and-trade deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Nets, in exchange for Russell joining the Warriors. At the time, most thought that Russell would be dealt by the trade deadline due to an awkward fit alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
The Warriors are in an interesting position this season. They knew Thompson would sit for the season and when news broke that Curry would as well, with a broken hand, the season was pretty much over. They are projected to finish the year with one of the worst records in the league, so trying to fix this season seems pointless. They should just bide their time until everyone is fully healthy and spend this season building for the following year.
Hence, trading for Robert Covington. RoCo is one of the leagues premier 3-and-D wings. He's also on a very friendly contract, slated to make just over $12 million per year the next few seasons. He hasn't necessarily taken the leap most had hoped he would in Minnesota, but there are other factors at play, namely, they aren't a very good team. He'd fill in the spot left by the departed Andre Igoudala.
The Warriors position here is also interesting for this fact, that Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns are good friends. Towns has been publicly upset with his team's lack of success, so the Warriors are primed to be in a position to take advantage. The asking price of two first-round picks can be high, but because they don't necessarily need Russell, and because the Timberwolves are desperate for a change to make their franchise cornerstone happy, it's a price they can ask for.
Why the Timberwolves would do it: As noted above, Karl-Anthony Towns is not in a good place right now. After a decent start, the team hit an 11-game losing streak and everything went downhill quickly. There have been rumblings that Towns may want out, so what better way to appease the generational big man than by bringing in one of his best friends?
Covington is a good player, but he doesn't move the needle much for a Timberwolves team that needs a playmaking guard. They part with him, as well as Jeff Teague, who is playing well below what his contract would suggest. Teague is essentially thrown in as an expiring big contract to make the money work for both sides.
A desperate team often has to make deals that may not favor them necessarily. In this proposal, the T'Wolves take in four others players as a means to acquire a 23-year old all-star. The Willie Cauley-Stein experiment didn't work out in Golden State, but he'd be a serviceable back-up to Towns. The other three players have promise, but merely are included to make the salaries match.
While the T'Wolves won't be happy about parting with two first-round draft picks, they may not be in a position to be picky. Chances are they would not draft a player better than Russell, so parting with these is just the price you pay for adding a player of Russell's caliber. A big three of Towns, Russell, and Wiggins would definitely be interesting.
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