Do the Wolves Need To Make A Move At the Trade Deadline?

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With the Minnesota Timberwolves completely overhauling its roster this past offseason, many people didn’t expect them to be active ahead of the February 9th trade deadline. However, trade rumors and speculations manifested quickly when they opened the season slower than expected. After their less than Ideal start, the Wolves have had a 13-7 record since Jan. 1. They are finally starting to gel with one another and compete on both sides of the ball.

Despite Minnesota’s improved play lately, the trade rumors are still in the air. D’Angelo Russell, Naz Reid, and Jaylen Nowell are part of the rumor mill. You get the feeling now, though, that the Wolves won’t make a desperate trade. Instead, they are more geared toward the future, despite the Wolves having a win-now mindset.

With just over 24 hours until all teams will be locked with their current squads, rumors and speculation have grown immensely. Despite more trade talks league-wide, the best option for the Wolves may be to stand pat at the deadline and rock with their current squad. However, that’s easier said than done. With that, let’s break down all three of the most talked about players on Minnesota’s roster and why I believe they should all remain in the Twin Cites come 2:01 pm on Feb. 9.

Naz Reid

I never thought that the beloved “Naz Reid” would be in heavy trade rumors. Yet, here we are. A slew of contending ballclubs have expressed interest in him. The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Denver Nuggets want the 21-year-old big man. It’s not hard to understand why they all desire Reid’s game. He’s a 6’9” stretch forward/center with impeccable footwork for a third-year player.

Reid is on the final season of a four-year, $6.1 million contract he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2019. On top of this, the Wolves minimize Reid’s role when Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert are in the lineup. Thus, it’s unsurprising that he may want to take his talents elsewhere. However, there’s been no reports (to my knowledge) that Reid wants out of Minnesota. It’s also been reported that Reid will be searching for a $10 million annual extension this offseason.

Jon Krawczynki of The Athletic recently reported that “the Wolves have had contract extension negotiations with Reid throughout the season.” He also added that “it would appear that Reid is here to stay through the deadline unless another team makes an offer they absolutely cannot refuse.”

Making the money work with Reid is going to be tough. Tim Connelly and Co. already have over $70 million tied up between Gobert and Towns in the next season alone. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that Reid could help this team win for a long, long time – there might just not be the minutes available to do so.

Jaylen Nowell

After sending Malik Beasley to Utah this past off-season, the Wolves created an opportunity for Nowell, who had searched for consistent minutes since entering the league in 2019. Despite a larger role, the 23-year-old guard has not given Minnesota consistent scoring to start this season. However, we are beginning to see an improved version of Nowell recently, reminding us of what he was capable of last season.

“Definitely got my swagger back,” Nowell said after dropping 16 points on the Denver Nuggets Sunday night. “Just keep it going. We gon’ keep it going.”

Nowell’s biggest issue has been his inability to consistently knock down jumpers off the bounce and on the catch. That’s ironic because hitting tough shots was Nowell’s calling card last season. However, with Jordan McLaughlin returning to the lineup after missing 30 games with a left calf strain, I think we can all expect Jaylen’s improved play – along with the rest of the bench mob – to continue.

There haven’t been many teams inquiring about Nowell due largely to his shot not falling this season and his below-average on-ball defense. However, Shams Charania reported a few weeks ago that Nowell “isn’t interested in signing an extension and will test free agency.”

A fresh start with a possibly increased role may be just what Nowell needs, and letting him hit the FA market this off-season seems like the best route for both parties. I can’t imagine the Wolves would be able to get anything more than a second-round pick in exchange for Nowell, further leading me to believe letting him walk with nothing in return this summer wouldn’t be that large of a loss.

D’Angelo Russell

It seems as if every Wolves fan has a different outlook on what the Wolves should do with DLo. Early in the season, Russell was not playing up to most fans’ expectations. However, ‘Lo is hitting his stride during Minnesota’s recent successful stretch. And that’s not by coincidence. DLo has been the unsung hero at times when it comes to his team’s success on the offensive side of the ball.

With the addition of Kyle Anderson this past off-season and Anthony Edwards becoming more of a ball-dominate guard, Russell has been able to play off the catch a lot more this year, where he appears the most comfortable.

DLo has always called himself a “basketball player” rather than a point guard. Making the right reads, knowing when to hunt for his shot, and knowing when to defer to his teammates have been both Russell’s biggest learning curve throughout his career and what makes him so valuable to the Timberwolves.

Given that he’s on the final season of a four-year, $117 million contract, it’s not surprising to see Russell’s name popping up on many trade reports and rumors. The Los Angeles Clippers have inquired about DLo the most within the past few weeks, labeling him as one of their prime trade targets, according to Marc Stein.

Despite what Twitter may tell you, Connelly and the Wolves are nowhere close to having a sure deal that would send Russell out of the Twin Cities.

“[Russell has] had a great year,” said Connelly. “A tremendous summer where he worked his tail off and certainly there’s plenty of scenarios where he’s our point guard not just now but for the future as well.”

As Connelly said, DLo has “worked his tail off” to get where he is right now – both with his on-court play and chemistry with his team. In a perfect world, the Wolves would be able to offer Russell a multi-year contract extension. However, given that the team is in the luxury tax, giving DLo what he would want to remain in the Twin Cities would be difficult in the long run.

Waiting until this off-season to make decisions on the likes of Nowell, Reid, and Russell may have positive and negative consequences. However, I always believe that successful teams should stand pat at the trade deadline – especially after what we saw last season with the Wolves.

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Photo Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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