NBA Draft, trade rumors roundup: Minnesota not looking to trade Towns, is Raptors’ Siakam available?
It’s just a couple of days until the NBA Draft and the trade rumors are flying around the league at a Fast and Furious X pace... except most of them are false. That said, there is some truth out there.
Let’s break down the latest NBA Draft and trade rumors and news.
Minnesota intends to run it back next season, not trade Towns
As impressed as Karl-Anthony Towns somehow was with the Timberwolves’ run to the playoffs last season, it was not a success considering the team went all-in with the Rudy Gobert trade. Last season’s stumbles led to a lot of speculation that Minnesota might break things up, specifically trading Towns (because Gobert is essentially untradable, while KAT’s offense gives him great value) and retooling the team around Anthony Edwards.
That’s not how the Timberwolves see it, reports Jon Krawczynski at The Athletic. They plan to run it back.
After we just spent a couple of weeks praising the patience and continuity that Miami and Denver showed — remember, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly was with the Nuggets previously — it would be hypocritical to say Minnesota has to blow this up now. That said, Minnesota must evolve to become Edwards’ team, he is going to be the best of this group, and the team should be retooled around him. Also, while there is something to be said for patience, there may not be enough of it in the world to make Towns and Gobert mesh as a front line. If it doesn’t work out this season, at what point do they pull the plug on the experiment? With Towns’ supermax contract extension kicking in for the 2024-25 season, is that the time?
Trail Blazers have eyes looking north of the border on Siakam, Anunoby
There are a lot of “What are the Raptors going to do?” questions floating around the NBA. There also are a lot of “What are the Trail Blazers going to do? questions in the run-up to the draft (although trading for Bam Adebayo should not be one of them).
Maybe those two teams should be talking to one another. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated says they are and that Portland has reached out to Toronto with eyes toward a possible Pascal Siakam or OG Anunoby trade. The buzz around the league has been that the Raptors seem more willing to consider Siakam trades than Anunoby, but is the No. 3 pick and Anfernee Simons (plus likely more picks) enough to interest Toronto in the move? Maybe, if Scoot Henderson falls to No. 3 (depending on what Charlotte does with the No. 2 pick).
Siakam is underrated by a lot of fans and would be a great two-way fit next to Lillard, if the Raptors are serious about making a move.
Also with the Raptors, Gary Trent Jr. picks up option for next season
Things will be different next season on the Toronto Raptors roster, whether or not Siakam is there. One thing that will not change is Gary Trent Jr. will be back, he has picked up his $18.5 option for next season.
Trent Jr. was the focus of a lot of offseason and trade speculation, and he could still be moved even after picking up his option. But good two-way wings who averaged 17.6 points per game and can shoot the three are hard to come by, the Raptors will want a lot in return.
What was the best offer the Spurs got for the No. 1 pick?
Never say never... except in this case, where we can safely say the Spurs were never going to trade the No. 1 pick and the rights to Victor Wembanyama. Except you know some teams called and at least jokingly tried to make an offer. Spurs GM Brian Wright was asked what was the best offer he got (via Jeff McDonald at the San Antonio Express-News).
He turned the GM down, which was good for both the GM and the lucky assistant GM of the other team.
Bulls keep asking price for Zach LaVine sky-high
Zach LaVine is an All-Star and a scoring machine averaging 27.4 points per game. With the Bulls stuck in the mud as a franchise, the team is reportedly listening to offers for their best player, they are at least considering shaking things up on some core level. But they are not giving him away. Not even close.
The Bulls want “a good young player, multiple first-round picks and salary filler” reports KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. That’s a steep price for a guy with four years and $178 million still on his contract. All of which is to say, expect LaVine to be a Bull at the start of next season, but the team is at least kicking the tires on deals.
If the Clippers trade for Chris Paul, where does that leave Russell Westbrook?
After last season, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue and everyone within the organization heaped praise on Russell Westbrook, his play and his fit with the team. It all worked, better than many of us outside the locker room expected. Everyone said they wanted him back.
Then reports the Clippers are the frontrunners to trade for Chris Paul emerged.
Westbrook and CP3 in the same backcourt? How would that work? Lue could have to figure it out as the Clippers are open to having both CP3 and Westbrook on the roster, according to Law Murray at The Athletic. Part of why having both works for the Clippers is financial — trading for Paul means trading for his $30.8 million salary this season, but the most the Clippers can offer Westbrook is 120% of the veteran minimum. Westbrook isn’t expensive by NBA terms, it’s not a big financial risk.
None of that answers what is Westbrook’s role on a roster with Paul? Westbrook doesn’t get to run it back in the same role he was in.
As much as he loves being back home in Los Angeles, if another team offers more Westbrook will strongly consider it. Except who would that be? The Bulls as they see how things play out with Lonzo Ball? The Trail Blazers? There are few obvious options for his services, which could push Westbrook back to the Clippers, where he is wanted. Even if the fit is now more of a question mark.
Damian Jones is coming back to Utah next season
Not a surprise but passing it along.