Yesterday we received our second Wojbomb of the trade season in a deal between Atlanta and Minnesota that left many scratching their heads and wondering what’s next. Overall this trade is a positive for both teams, although there’s potential that this backfires for the Timberwolves. Swapping Expirings
For Atlanta, this is a low cost move that finally puts a second lead ballhandler on this roster. Trae Young has been tremendous on the offensive end this year, but when he sits the Hawks offense monumentally suffers; dropping from a 109.6 offensive rating to a 93.4. So when Trae is on the floor, Atlanta posts a bottom ten offensive rating. Without him, they have not only the worst offensive rating in the league, they have the fifth worst offensive rating EVER. This has been due in large part to the lack of any other real creator on the team.
Teague was a steady hand in Minnesota and in his first run with the Hawks, so he should provide immediate help off the bench with the hopes of bring the offense to some level of competency with Trae on the bench. Depending on how well Teague fits and what he commands in free agency, he could land a deal as Young’s backup for the foreseeable future.
Treveon Graham’s deal expires at the end of this season and he was really struggling in Minnesota. Hopefully the change of scenery reinvigorates his game, but ultimately he was just in the deal to clear a roster spot for the Wolves.
While Atlanta’s trade reasoning made immediate sense for many, there were a lot of questions as to what Minnesota was doing with this trade. They now have one real point guard on their roster and Allen Crabbe figures to be little more than a rotation piece.
The real idea behind Minnesota’s trade was to swap expirings and clear a roster spot. Crabbe makes slightly less money than Teague so his deal can be more readily paired with another players’ contract in a deal. Minnesota has been linked to D’Angelo Russell for well over a year, but depending on how Golden State values him, expect Minnesota to be pursuing any above average guard with a near max-level contract.
This is a bit of a gamble for the Wolves, but we might look back on this after the trade deadline and commend the way Gersson Rosas handled this. But, for now the Wolves lack a capable lead ballhandler (Shabazz Napier is fine, but not really a starter). This has been a greatly disappointing year for a Timberwolves team expected to fight for a playoff spot. As the glimpses of that promise have disappeared, the desperation of not being the same team next year takes precedent.
The Wolves have made the playoffs once since 2004. Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the best young players in the NBA, but hardly anyone outside of hardcore fans and analysts know that due to Minnesota’s mediocrity. I pray things turn around soon, or KAT will become Kevin Garnett 2.0.