Trade Deadline 2023: Minnesota Timberwolves Mock Deadline

  • GM: Logan Alten, @laltennba

    Salary Cap: $147,207,825

    Luxury Tax: $3,059,175

    GOAL: Find a playmaker! Assess trade market on D’Angelo Russell. Make a trade for an upgrade while remaining under the tax


    Get a better fit for this roster than D’Angelo Russell

    o   Teams to target Russell:

    Charlotte for Rozier? That would open up significant cap space for CHA this summer
    Is Orlando a dark horse for him?

    Try finding minor upgrades where you can get it but don’t break the bank to do it… clearly this team isn’t ready to compete for a championship

    Players to Dangle

    D’Angelo Russell (1/$31.4)

    o   Expiring contract and I’m not sure Minnesota is going to re-sign him, so flip him for what you can get and recoup whatever you’re able to

    o   Salary: $31,377,750

    o   Can salary match up to: $39,322,187 but this would obviously put them into the tax

    Taurean Prince (2/$14.9 w/ NG 2023-24)

    o   Salary: $7,295,000

    o   Can salary match up to $12,295,000 if you can avoid the tax

    o   Big wings are a hot commodity in today’s NBA, you may want to consider moving him for either an upgrade because there’ll be a market for him, or just to recoup any assets you lost in Gobert trade

    Jaylen Nowell (1/$1.9)

    o  Salary: $1,930,681

    o   Now, Minnesota probably shouldn’t trade Nowell, but if they don’t plan on paying him a decent chunk of change, they may have to consider moving him. They can probably get a pretty decent asset or two for him

    Naz Reid (1/$1.9)

    o  Salary: $1,930,681

    o   See Jaylen Nowell (above)…. Minnesota already obviously has Gobert & KAT on the roster, so Reid will be more valuable to another team than he is to Minnesota, so if they don’t want to pay him $6-$8 million a year to re-sign him, then they should flip him now

    Assets Owned

    • TPE: $4,374,000
    Minnesota can’t trade any first rounders due to Stepien Rule because they owe four picks to Utah
    2024 1st
    2026 1st (UTA has swap rights)
    2028 1st
    2029 1st (top 5 protected to UTA)
    2023 NYK 2nd
    2026 2nd (less favorable of IND, MIA, & SAS)
    2028 2nd
    2029 2nd (to UTA if 2029 1st not conveyed)


    Mock Trades to Date (Feb 2 Deadline)


    Timberwolves-Raptors swap guards

    TRADE: Raptors trade Malachi Flynn to the Timberwolves for Jaylen Nowell


    Our Raptors GM, Es Baraheni, did not find Malachi Flynn as a valuable part of how the Raptors roster is constructed. When he came on the Bird Rights Podcast, he discussed that he was always planning to move Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet because he did not feel comfortable paying each of them the amount of money they expected to receive in free agency. While Nowell will likely be paid in the $7-$9 million range annually this summer in unrestricted free agency, Toronto figured they’d have plenty of flexibility to re-sign Nowell. 

    For Minnesota, they do not have a consistent reliable playmaker on the roster beyond this year. Malachi Flynn gave them a point guard that is still under contract on a rookie deal next year and the hope is that he can be a reliable contributor next year. Minnesota also didn’t feel comfortable paying Nowell in free agency this summer. While Toronto feels that they got the superior player in this deal, Minnesota valued these players equally and took the one that is more cost-controlled for an extra year. 


    Timberwolves-Jazz trade

    TRADE: Timberwolves trade Naz Reid and the 2023 NYK 2nd to the Utah Jazz for Utah’s 2023 1st (least favorable of HOU/BKN/PHI)


    With Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns as two of the franchise cornerstones, our Minnesota GM, Logan Alten, felt that it was best to move Reid, who is about to hit unrestricted free agency. He traded Reid with a mid-second round pick for a first round pick, which is very reminiscent of what the San Antonio Spurs did with the Toronto Raptors last year when they traded Thaddeus Young with similar pick compensation for Toronto’s first-round pick last year. Minnesota basically moves up roughly 20 spots in the draft to move off a guy they likely were not going to retain beyond this year. 

    For the Jazz, GM Josh Url felt that Reid’s ability to rebound, shoot threes, block shots, and pass will complement their roster well. Reid is also 23 years old and fits the timeline of the rest of the Jazz’s young core. As he explained on the Bird Rights Podcast, it was a “bird in the hand” situation where he preferred the player who can thrive in their system over the unknown of a late first-round pick. 


    Timberwolves and Nets swap former All-Stars

    TRADE: Brooklyn Nets send Ben Simmons, Cam Thomas, 2028 top-four protected Nets 1st, and a 2026 2nd to the Minnesota Timberwolves for D’Angelo Russell, Bryn Forbes, and Wendell Moore 

    The Nets made this trade with the desire to get off of Ben Simmons’ contract. As noted earlier, D’Angelo Russell is on an expiring deal, as is Kyrie Irving. As a result, if the Nets decided to not retain either, they could be a player with cap space in free agency this summer. However, at this point, letting Kyrie walk seems highly unlikely. The Nets gave up another first, a top-four protected first in 2028 as well as Cam Thomas, just to get off the Simmons contract. My biggest qualm with the Nets moves, as I noted on the Bird Rights podcast recently, is that the Nets no longer have any premiere defenders on their roster. Nic Claxton has done an excellent job protecting the rim this season, and Kevin Durant has more than held his own on that end of the floor, but with three small guards in the backcourt that’ll demand major moves, and they don’t have much else. Corban justified these moves by saying the Nets will have such an elite offense, the defensive side of the ball won’t matter. 

    For the Timberwolves, they desired to get off D’Angelo Russell, but couldn’t get any takers. Minnesota now has Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Ben Simmons all on the roster, which seems like a roster that doesn’t make much sense. However, they acquired that 2028 top-four protected Nets pick to add a pick to the cupboard because they can’t trade any first-round pick until next year’s 2030 selection. This was a way to acquire a lightly protected first and hopefully further solidify the defense alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. At their best, the Wolves can sell themselves on having the two best defenders in the NBA. It seems like that time has passed, though. 

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