Golden State Warriors:
Received- Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves 2021 1st round pick (top 3 protected), Timberwolves 2021 second round pick
Now it almost felt inevitable that D’Angelo Russell was not the long term plan and would be used as a trade piece to compliment the stars they have in place (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green). The Warriors decided to use this valuable trade asset to acquire Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has not lived up to his expectations as a former #1 overall pick. In his defense, Minnesota has been borderline dysfunctional the past couple seasons so it wasn’t the best environment, however, we can’t ignore what he is. I do believe some of his problems are mental, and while Golden State has a great culture under Steve Kerr, there is no fit for Andrew Wiggins. He will have to go from shooting 20 shots a game to 13 once everyone is healthy. Wiggins is an offensive-minded player and that is just how he is wired. So when some nights he doesn’t put up at least 10 shots, he is going to disappear similar to how we saw when he coexisted with Jimmy Butler. Not to mention, Wiggins is one of the worst defenders in the NBA. While Curry and Klay can work off the ball, the Warriors still have Draymond as a playmaker and that is how they thrive. Like I mentioned previously, Wiggins is wired a certain way and won’t succeed if he is forced to just be a spot-up shooter. Everyone is comparing Andrew Wiggins to Harrison Barnes, but people don’t understand what Barnes was. He was a 3 and D, low usage player that played his role. Andrew Wiggins is not that player. Wiggin’s career 3 point percentage is 33.2%, while Harrison Barnes shot 39.4% in his last two seasons as a Warrior. While Wiggins might be a slight upgrade over Russell in terms of fit, multiple teams were willing to give up valuable assets to acquire Russell. With Wiggins, no one is lining up to trade for him with that contract. Wiggins is under contract for 4 more seasons with an average salary of $30.5 million per year. It would be more beneficial if the Warriors had that money so they can get 2 or 3 quality players that fit next to their stars. On the bright side though, the Warriors owner saved $40+ million with all the trades they made to get them under the luxury tax this season and out of the repeater tax penalty. This isn’t a huge emphasis on this trade alone, because they could have explored other avenues to package Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman. The Warriors will also get the Timberwolves first-round draft pick in 2021 most likely, and it could very easily be a lottery pick. Overall though, while the trade may not have been great, the Warriors still have a bright future with arguably a top 5 coach, the best small-ball center, and the best backcourt in the NBA.
Received- D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans, Omari Spellman
The Timberwolves tried the Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins pairing, and it just wasn’t getting the team anywhere. The team was on a 13 game losing streak heading into the deadline and in the NBA, you don’t want your stars being disgruntled. Minnesota most likely felt inclined to make a move before their star demands a trade. The Timberwolves made the right decision in choosing Towns as he is one of the most talented big men in the NBA. They also acquired a friend of Karl-Anthony Towns in D’Angelo Russell who he has been trying to recruit for years. Keeping your stars happy is ridiculously valuable to a fault in the NBA so it is a real factor to consider. It’s also important to establish an identity as a franchise and Russell allows them to do that. D’Angelo Russell will be a good fit in Ryan Saunder’s fast pace system that is very 3 point dependent. He will also tolerate dumb shots sometimes because he wants his scorers to have that mindset. Defensively, it’s not always going to be pretty with Russell and Towns, but they form a scary 2 man game on offense. The biggest downside that isn’t being considered by many is the fact that the upcoming NBA Draft could easily have half of the lottery be point guards, because this class has a lot of quality point guards coming out. However, it makes complete sense why the Timberwolves pursued D’Angelo Russell to pair with Towns and also managed to get rid of one of the worst contracts in the NBA in Andrew Wiggins.
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Trade details found on ESPN (https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/23736393/nba-trade-tracker-grades-details-every-deal)
Stats found on Basketball-Reference (https://www.basketball-reference.com)
Contract Details found on Spotrac (https://www.spotrac.com/nba/golden-state-warriors/andrew-wiggins-15353/)
Photo Credit to Fantasy World (https://fadeawayworld.net/2020/02/06/breaking-dangelo-russell-has-been-traded-to-the-minnesota-timberwolves-for-andrew-wiggins/)