Should the Minnesota Timberwolves Trade for Chris Paul?
By Nick Nagel
An off-season in the NBA can make or break a team for their up-coming season. The Minnesota Timberwolves have not made it past the first round since the Kevin Garnett days in 2004 when the team made it all the way to the conference finals. After striking out on coaches and a number of draft picks, the team may need to take a different approach when approaching this summer.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is reportedly calling front offices around the league with an “aggressive desire” to improve the Rocket’s roster. Every player and future draft pick will be available via trade. I know as well as you that the Rockets will most likely not trade James Harden. The 2018 MVP is coming off a season where he averaged just above 36 points per game and fits the Rocket’s system perfectly. Although, there is one player that highlights these trade rumors: future hall of famer, Chris Paul.
The Rockets signed the 34 year old point guard to a ridiculous 4-year, $160 million contract last summer with $124 million still remaining on it. You may be thinking, why would the Timberwolves ever want to pick up this contract? Well, the Timberwolves also have a ridiculous, 5-year $147 million contract on their hands in Andrew Wiggins.
Face it Wolves fans, it’s time to move on from Wiggins. The 2014 #1 overall pick has been extremely underwhelming for the Timberwolves and plays very inconsistent throughout the season. Swapping these contracts would make sense from a basketball standpoint and we could see some vast improvements for the Wolves. Paying Wiggins year after year for inconsistent play and average seasons has been a growing problem for the Wolves. Of course, the team would have to trade away a couple assets besides Wiggins to secure Paul. Robert Covington is an interesting trade asset that would fit perfect in the Rocket’s three point shooting system. Besides Paul, it would be likely that they would also receive another asset from the Rockets.
The Timberwolves have been searching for a true-point guard to fit well with Karl-Anthony Towns. Jeff Teague has been the Wolves primary point guard for the last two seasons putting up a solid 12 points, 8 assists per game stat-line last season. Not bad numbers from the solid veteran, but if I’m general manager Scott Layden, I want more. With Chris Paul potentially on the market, the production from the point guard position would most likely increase. At this point in his career, Paul can still distribute and create shots for himself and others at a high level. Leadership is one aspect the Wolves have lacked over the years and Paul would automatically insert himself as the leader of the team.
Despite being 34 years-old, Paul could still be a very productive player. Pairing him with a stretch-big like Towns could create a lot more opportunities in the pick-and-roll/pick-and pop offense. Building around Towns has been what the Wolves’ management has been trying to do since he joined them in 2015. Entering his fifth season, Towns is looking to break out and prove he is one of the most dominating players in the game. Towns’ numbers would improve when being paired with a hall of fame point guard. Adding Paul with Towns would make for one of the best one-two punches the franchise has ever had. After missing the playoffs for the fourteenth time in the last fifteen seasons, the Wolves need to start making changes. It’s time to say goodbye to Wiggins and bring in a motivated veteran with something to prove.