Warriors

Warriors

The Warriors didn't have much use for the trade market during their five-year NBA Finals run. Now, as a team in transition, it ended the latest trade season as one of the league's most active participants. 

Their latest trade ships All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell to Minnesota in exchange for wing Andrew Wiggins and two future picks. 

Here's a full breakdown of the deal: 

What the Warriors received: Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 top-3 protected first-round draft pick and a 2021 second-round draft pick, cap relief. 

Despite averaging nearly 20 points per game over his short career, Wiggins has garnered the reputation of being a first-round bust. In six seasons, he's among the league's worst defenders. According to Basketball-Reference, he has the worst defensive rating in the site's database among players who have played at least 15,000 minutes. Worse, his effort has been questioned along the way, which reportedly caught the ire of former teammate Jimmy Butler. 

Amid the criticisms, Wiggins still has four years and $122 million left on his current contract, garnering the reputation as one of the worst contracts in the league. Nonetheless, Wiggins has shown signs of growth, averaging 22.4 points, including a 40-point outburst against the Warriors earlier this season Additionally, Wiggins has the potential to be a great NBA player with his size and athleticism but will need to show he cares in this system. 

With the move, the Warriors are betting on its system to improve Wiggins' shortcomings. In recent months, the team has done just that with reclamation projects Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks. And if the forward doesn't improve, the Warriors can always trade the 23-year old away. 

 

Along with Wiggins, the Warriors acquired two more draft picks to improve the team, while avoiding the repeater luxury tax with the departures of Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans. But you have to wonder how the Warriors would have fared if they were more patient in making this deal. Minnesota has long coveted Russell to pair him alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. But the same deal would have been available at the end of the season with perhaps more assets attached.

It also marks the end of tenures for Spellman and Evans in Golden State. While Evans failed to become an NBA rotation option, Spellman had developed into a young piece for the Warriors, prompting the team to pick up his option earlier this season. Ultimately, the Warriors chose cap relief over continued development. 

At the moment, the Warriors have just nine players on standard NBA contracts. The recent moves almost assure that two-way players Ky Bowman and Marquese Chriss will have their deals converted to standard NBA contracts. The team is also expected to be in the market for 10-day contracts to fill out its roster. 

Grade: C-plus

What the Timberwolves received: D'Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman

The Wolves have been desperate to acquire Russell since they missed out on the 23-year-old during last summer's free agency period. Now they get a young All-Star guard to pair with Towns. Both should develop into a solid one-two offensive punch. However, neither player plays much defense and hasn't had much playoff success during their young careers. The deal also comes as the T-Wolves have been in a troubling losing period, dropping their last 13 games, irking Towns in the process.

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“I’ve been losing for a long time,” Towns said recently. “I’m not trying to do that s--t anymore. So every possession means a lot. You obviously see my patience running low with a lot of things. There’s no excuses. We gotta get it done.”

Spellman also provides value in the deal. After nearly eating his way out of the league, the big man became a promising piece in Golden State's system, averaging a career-high 7.6 points per game as a stretch-4. Over a six-game stretch last month, he averaged 14.3 points per game, providing energy off Golden State's barren bench. Spellman has always believed in his ability. Now he'll have a chance to show it in his third home in less than two years. 

Grade: C-plus