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Minnesota Timberwolves linked to Kyrie Irving: How a trade could work

Andrew Buller-Russ

The Minnesota Timberwolves did the unthinkable at the time, stunning everyone by trading for Rudy Gobert. Now, could they look to capitalize on their sudden top contender status by going even more all-in on a Kyrie Irving trade?

That’s the thought Bill Simmons brought up on a recent podcast. It’s an entertaining idea, even if it’s a bit unexpected. But that was the same line of thinking prior to the Gobert trade. Anything is possible.

So how could a Kyrie Irving trade to the Timberwolves look?

Kyrie Irving’s low trade value could appeal to Wolves

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Minnesota Timberwolves
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Timberwolves have pushed all their chips to the center of the table with the Gobert trade, sending five future firsts to the Utah Jazz, along with several key contenders to land one large All-Star to patch up the defense.

Now they’re left with few other trade assets, and a core that seems pretty locked in, with Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Gobert as the Big 3.

Then again, starting point guard D’Angelo Russell is heading into a contract year and hasn’t been able to find common ground with the front office when it comes to an extension. The current plan seems to be for DLo to gamble on himself, hoping to show the Wolves he’s worth more than whatever offer’s on the table.

But there’s also the likelihood that Kyrie Irving is traded from the Brooklyn Nets as he’s also entering a contract year. As of now, it doesn’t appear as if Irving’s trade market is red-hot, with the Los Angeles Lakers being the only team linked to Irving, after a report about the Philadelphia 76ers not having interest.

If the Nets are completely against adding Russell Westbrook and his inflated $47 million salary, obviously they’ll have to shop around elsewhere for a better trade partner. As of now, all the Lakers really have to offer is Westbrook’s expiring contract and their own future first-round picks. Nothing special.

So if the Lakers are the only team currently negotiating for Irving, what’s to stop the Nets from looking for a slightly more appealing offer from a different contender?

This is where the Timberwolves, even with their depleted assets, could put together an even stronger offer than what the Lakers can, and it all comes down to D’Angelo Russell.

Like Westbrook, Russell is on an expiring deal, only for $16 million less, and he can actually shoot, which makes him a much better fit in any NBA offense. And if they’re looking in the long-term, Russell at 26, has to be more appealing than Westbrook at 33 years old. Basically, why wouldn’t the Nets be eying the Wolves instead?

Both teams, the Lakers and Wolves, can offer a similar package, their starting point guard and future firsts. The Nets just might prefer what the Timberwolves have over Westbrook. It’s that simple.

  • Timberwolves get: Kyrie Irving
  • Nets get: D’Angelo Russell, Wendell Moore Jr., two future first round picks

The first thing that has to be addressed is the lack of future firsts for the Wolves, as they don’t currently have a pick that can be traded until 2031. Due to NBA rules, they’re not allowed to send out a first-round pick in back-to-back years. But, they could still offer pick swaps in 2024 and 2028 to the Nets. Or, the T-Wolves could complete a separate deal, like sending Naz Reid plus Jaylen Nowell out in an attempt to land a future pick from another team, freeing up the ability to trade a pick of their own.

Though it may not seem possible today, there’s a path to the Wolves actually ending up with Kyrie Irving.

Related: Top-10 remaining NBA free agents: Ideal landing spot for each player

How would Kyrie Irving work with the Timberwolves?

On paper, adding Kyrie Irving to a roster that already boasts two All-Stars would be divine. What KAT and Gobert lack in the ability to actually win a ring thus far, Irving makes up for. Which is a dumb measuring stick, but the point is, he’s been proven to have the heart to get it done.

The reason everyone should be excited about the thought of adding Irving are the same reasons the Wolves were excited to add DLo to the core three years ago. Both players have the ball on a string, with incredible handling ability, and the skill to laser a pass into nearly any window. Their scoring potential is also similar, as they have unlimited range and an ability to close out late in games. Shot creation? Check. Basketball IQ? Check. Only with all these listed abilities that Russell has, Irving takes it to the next level, on a much more polished scale.

  • PG – Kyrie Irving
  • SG – Anthony Edwards
  • SF – Jaden McDaniels
  • PF – Karl-Anthony Towns
  • C- Rudy Gobert

If you like Russell, then you’re gonna love Irving, because he’s DLo x2. And if winning an NBA Title is the ultimate goal after making the Gobert trade, and it is, then Tim Connelly shouldn’t relax now, it’s time to pick up the phone and see how much an Irving trade would cost, without putting McDaniels on the table.

Related: WATCH: Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards shows off insane passing skills