The NBA trade deadline is less than two days away, and that means things are really about to heat up. One of the busiest teams in negotiations to this point has been the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last month they traded Jeff Teague to the Atlanta Hawks, and have been involved in discussions surrounding Golden State Warriors point guard D’Angelo Russell — though it looks like that potential trade might be dead. Now, they’ve jumped in on one of the busiest trades in recent memory.
According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Timberwolves, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets have agreed on a four-team trade involving 12 players and multiple first-round picks. Here is a quick breakdown of how the deal would work, and which team would acquire which players and picks.
In: Clint Capela, Nene
Out: Evan Turner, first-round pick via Brooklyn
In: Gerald Green, Keita Bates-Diop, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh, first-round pick from Houston
Out: Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt
In: Robert Covington, Jordan Bell, second-round pick (not clear via which team)
Out: Nene, Gerald Green, Clint Capela, first-round pick
In: Evan Turner, Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Jarred Vanderbilt, first-round pick from Atlanta, via Brooklyn
Out: Robert Covington, Keita Bates-Diop, Jordan Bell, Shabazz Napier, Noah Vonleh
There is obviously a lot going on here, but at first glance, it appears to make sense for all parties involved. It’s no secret that the Rockets have been desperate to acquire a big, defensive-minded wing, and Covington fits that bill. He can guard multiple positions, and is a solid-enough 3-point shooter — 34.6 percent on 6.5 attempts per game — that he won’t crater the spacing that’s so vital for James Harden and Russell Westbrook to operate.
As for the Timberwolves, they’d take on Turner to make the money work, and while his veteran leadership would be a nice addition to the locker room for the rest of the season, he’s a free agent in the summer. His expiring deal would give them more cap space and flexibility moving into the offseason, and whatever draft assets they acquire would help continue their rebuild.
Finally, the Hawks would get to add a perfect rim-running big man to play with Trae Young. We’ve already seen the kind of damage Capela can do partnering with James Harden, and the Hawks run a similar offensive system in which Young dominates the ball and attracts attention with his 3s and drives into the lane. Capela would become an instant lob target, and would help improve their defense on the other end.
Finally, for the Nuggets, they have a backlog in their rotation and just aren’t able to get everyone minutes when healthy. Both Beasley and Hernangomez are restricted free agents, and they probably weren’t going to be able to pay them in the summer, so they flipped them for a veteran shooter for the playoff run and a first-round pick.