It has been a rough couple of months for the Minnesota Timberwolves. First, they had Jimmy Butler declaring that he wanted to be traded, then they had the whole fiasco of where they were going to trade him and now they’ve had a rough start to the season. Something significant needs to happen soon before the whole ship capsizes.
The Wolves at the moment have a core of Butler, Towns and Wiggins that is not living up to their very high potential. All 3 players are superb talents and could be franchise players on their own, but together right now they aren’t performing well.
It is very clear what needs to happen; 1 of them needs to be traded. The question then remains as to which 1 should be moved and I am going to give you the pros and cons of trading each player and then tell you what should happen.
Pro: Butler is a free agent next summer and given that he’s said he wanted to be traded before the start of the season it is very very likely that he will sign for a different team next year. If this was to happen then the Wolves would get this year from Butler and lose him for nothing in return.
Trading Butler would also lift the huge amount of uncertainty from the Wolves and allow them to focus on trying to win games and make the Playoffs instead of all this off-court drama. If the Wolves trade Butler they probably won’t make the Playoffs, but they could get a good pick in the 2019 draft and go from there.
Cons: Butler right now is the Wolves best player. He’s averaging 25 points a game and shooting well in the process. He’s also the Wolves best defender and their go-to guy when games get tight.
Given that teams know Butler will be available for free next summer the return on trading Butler will be very low. At this point, it might even only be a few average role players that make no significant impact for the Wolves.
Pro: Wiggins has been terrible at the start of this season. He’s only averaging 15.8 points on 43.1% from the floor and 31.3% from beyond the arc. For today’s NBA that just isn’t good enough for a guy getting paid that much.
Wiggins has yet to show a consistently high motor that is needed to win at the top level. He’s always had the talent but his drive to win is what is holding him back the most. Despite this, he’s only 23 and still has a huge amount of potential...and trade value.
The Wolves could get a lot in return for Wiggins which could set them up nicely in the long run and let another team try and figure out how to get Wiggins to be more engaged.
Cons: As I said above Wiggins hasn’t started the season well at all, but he’s only played 5 games. That is a very small sample to judge how the rest of his season will go. Wiggins has averaged over 23 points a game in his career and still has the potential to be a world-class defender if he puts on some weight.
So far in his career, he’s only missed 2 games out of a possible 333. Staying consistently healthy is a great sign for future development and if he can start hitting 37%+ from the outside then he could be an All-Star in the future.
Pro: Towns is one of the most promising players in the NBA today, his trade value is amongst the top 5 in the league right now. He is also known to not put 100% into his defense which could be a big liability going forward. You want your franchise player (especially if he’s a center) to be your defensive anchor and to lead by example on the floor.
Cons: Towns is one of the most talented players in the NBA. He is the only player in NBA history to record a season scoring over 20 points a game, grabbing 12 rebounds, shoot above 40% from 3 point line and hit over 100 3s. He can score from anywhere on the floor and he hits over 85% of his free-throws. He is right up there with Embiid, Cousins and Davis for the title of best big man in the league.
Towns isn’t a bad defender. He defended the 6th most shots a game last season and blocked 1.4 shots as well. He has the potential to be a great defensive anchor but at the moment he is focusing too much on the offensive end. Players like Towns come round once in a generation.
In addition to the season, I mentioned above Towns is the 1st guy to average over 12 rebounds and shot better than 85% from the free-throw line since Bill Laimbeer in 1984. I’m a huge fan of Towns and the Wolves would be very idiotic to trade him at the point.
You can probably tell that I would advise not to trade Towns; he’s simply too valuable and has too much potential. To solve this conundrum the Wolves find themselves in they shouldn’t trade 1 of their stars... they should trade 2.
Butler will not be in Minneapolis this time next year so the Wolves need to cash out on him now. Wiggins is not a suitable partner for KAT in the long-run. KAT needs a really good shooting guard to be the main ball-handler and spread the floor to give KAT the room down low he needs to operate in.