For the 2nd year in a row, a major deal has gone down on the trade deadline. Former All-Star Guard D’Angelo Russell has been traded from the Golden State Warriors to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The trade package goes as such:
2021 First Rounder*
2021 2nd Rounder
*becomes unprotected 2022 if the pick falls within top 3
Obviously, this will be the biggest deal we see this trade deadline, so let us dive into the impact that this deal has with both teams, as well as how it changes the landscape of the future NBA.
It is very rare we see an extremely one-sided trade, but this deal is exactly that. Let’s look at what Minnesota last in this deal. It is simply just Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has played his entire career in Minnesota and simply hasn’t progressed. Wiggins peaked in in 2016, where he averaged a career-high 23.6 ppg on 45% shooting. Unfortunately, Wiggins numbers declined the last 3 years, including this season where he is averaging 22.4 ppg on 42% shooting. If Wiggins remained with the T-Wolves for the entirety of the season, he would have only averaged 20+ PPG two times in his 6-year career with the team. We also can’t forget that Wiggins is an atrocious defender; in fact, Wiggins is one of the few players averaging 20+ PPG this season with a negative defensive box plus-minus. Evidently, Wiggins was not playing up to his contract, and may never do that.
The Timberwolves also sent out two picks, one being a top 3 protected first-round pick, and the other being a 2nd round pick. With Minnesota adding Spellman, Evans, and Russell you have to expect that they will succeed their pace for wins this year. The pick they evidently shipped out will become either a late teens picks or possibly a pick in the early 20s. They essentially dealt an inefficient wing scorer and a useless pick for an All-Star level Guard.
Adding Russell gives Minnesottas star center Karl Anthony-Towns a solidified running mate for years to come. Russell has improved every season he has been in the league, improving his PPG and FG% every year he has been in the NBA. This season Russel is averaging 23.6 PPG on 44% shooting. Adding a solidified All-Star level talent to go with the best big man in the NBA may lead to a potential playoff run in the coming weeks.
We also can’t forget that Minnesota still received Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans. Spellman is an absolute steal. He is a big-bodied stretch 4 who can snag rebounds like crazy, and he is making a shade over 2 million dollars for the next 2 seasons. You don’t see a 22-year-old big man shooting 40% from 3 get traded for nothing. With Minnesota shipping out Shabaz Napier in the Robert Covington trade, they needed a backup PG, and Jacob Evans is just that. Though Evans is shooting an atrocious 37% from the field, he still has the potential to grow into a decent scorer. Evans at just 22 could really grow into one of the leagues better backup PGs with Russels Guidance.
The Golden State Warriors
At first, I hated this deal for Golden State. Not only did they give up their best player in D’angelo Russell, but they also dealt Spellman and Evans, two really solid young pieces who could have contributed for years. But, we need to realize that the Golden State front office if fixating on one idea, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Golden State will likely hold onto Wiggins next season but in 2021 off-season, I expect him to get dealt. The Warriors will have 4 players under contract that off-season, Wiggins, Curry, Thompson, and Draymond. Moving Wiggins Contract gives them just enough cap space to offer Giannis the max.
The most likely scenario is Wiggins gets packaged on draft night with their pick and the Timberwolves pick they acquired. Hell, maybe Wiggins even gets moved this off-season. All I know is the game plan in Golden State is Giannis.
Golden State giving up Spellman and Evans also puts them 3 million dollars above the luxury tax, something they have been trying to do all season. By doing this deal they avoid a 25 million dollar cap penalty.
All in all the Warriors are bolstering for a big move in the next two off-seasons. They clearly want to tank and acquire assets, and they are doing just that. The Warriors are going to be back ladies and gentleman, strap in. This move isn’t as bad as we all originally thought.