Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Timberwolves trying to orchestrate four-team trade with Rockets, Hawks, Warriors

Warriors guard D'Angelo Russell and Rockets center Clint Capela

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 25: D’Angelo Russell #0 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball against the Houston Rockets on December 25, 2019 at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Rockets want Timberwolves forward Robert Covington and would trade center Clint Capela. But with Karl-Anthony Towns starring, Minnesota doesn’t need another center. The Timberwolves reportedly want Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell. The Hawks could use Capela, though.

Is there a way for all four teams to achieve their goals?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Minnesota Timberwolves are orchestrating multi-team trade discussions with Houston and Atlanta - with hopes of ultimately turning discussions into a four-way deal that brings Warriors guard D’Angelo Russell to Minnesota, league sources tell ESPN.

The Timberwolves, Rockets and Hawks possess the assets to fulfill some of each team’s goals: forward Robert Covington to Houston, center Clint Capela to the Hawks and potentially two first-round picks and an expiring contract to Minnesota, league sources said.

The huge question: What would the Warriors get?

They reportedly rejected an offer for Russell that would’ve netted the Timberwolves’ 2020 first-rounder and, via the Hawks, the Nets’ lottery-protected 2020 first-rounder. But I suspect there’s more to the story.

Russell is earning $15,983,781 more than Covington. So, the Timberwolves must send out more salary in a deal for Russell. A prime candidate: Gorgui Dieng.

But due $17,287,640 next season, Dieng has negative value. If Golden State also had to take Dieng, the return looks far worse.

The Hawks could help. They’ve shown a willingness to eat bad salary for a sweetener, and Chandler Parsons’ or Allen Crabbe’s large expiring contracts could prove handy.

Here’s a trade framework that could appeal to all teams (via TradeNBA):


The key would be sorting out picks.

The Warriors would obviously need substantial value for Russell. Parsons is just a neutral-value conduit.

The Hawks would give up less for Capela if forced to take Dieng, too. Atlanta might even demand a sweetener in addition to Capela, whom Houston seems eager to unload.

How much would the Rockets and Timberwolves add to the pot to get this done before the NBA trade deadline on Thursday?

This would have been easier if Minnesota hadn’t already traded Jeff Teague to the Hawks for Allen Crabbe. Teague’s expiring contract would have been far easier to include in this deal than Dieng’s burdensome contract, especially because we know Atlanta wanted Teague.

As if four-team trades needed any extra sources of tension.