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3 Minnesota Timberwolves trade scenarios in 2022 NBA Draft

Andrew Buller-Russ

The Minnesota Timberwolves are coming off one of their most successful seasons since the Kevin Garnett era. This time it didn’t happen because of a blockbuster trade that brought in a superstar, like adding Jimmy Butler in 2017.

Instead, the team grew from within, on the backs of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns. As is, the T-Wolves have a very bright future, but what if new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly wants to jumpstart the process, as Tom Thibodeau once did, by adding Butler?

With the 2022 NBA Draft set to take place on June 23, we thought it would be ideal to come up with three Timberwolves draft trade ideas for fans to ponder until the event takes place. For now, the Wolves hold four draft picks, with pick No. 19 being their biggest trade chip. They also hold 40, 48, and 50, which all come in the second round and have a significantly reduced amount of value.

Here are three Timberwolves trade scenarios that focus on sending out their first-round pick for an immediate contributor, instead of hoping another Jarrett Culver pans out.

Timberwolves trade for John Collins

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
  • Timberwolves get: John Collins
  • Hawks get: Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, and 19th pick

The Timberwolves are naturally set up for another strong next season, based on the expected internal growth from Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, and Jarred Vanderbilt, but there are still roster needs. In my opinion, the most concerning weakness is the current team’s lack of rebounding.

Finishing 16th in rebounds and 25th in defensive rebounds, far too often the Wolves found themselves overmatched, missing out on extra possessions thanks to losing the rebounding battle last season. It’s an area they need to address this offseason.

With no money to spend in free agency outside of their mid-level exception, which is expected to be in the $11 million per season range, they’ll need to turn to the trade market to add an impact player.

One player who could become available if the Atlanta Hawks are looking to change their roster is power forward John Collins, who’s been linked to the Wolves in the past. At 6-foot-9, Collins is an extremely athletic four, who’d fit nicely next to KAT in the starting lineup. Like Towns, Collins can do a little bit of everything, whether it be shooting the three, scoring in the paint, or doing the dirty work on the glass.

  • John Collins contract: $23.5 million in 2022-23

Collins is under contract through the 2024-25 season, with him having a player option for an additional year, and at 24, he fits the current Wolves’ timeline perfectly.

While his rebounding rate has slipped since he’s played next to Clint Capela, Collins had a rebounding rate of 16.8% in his first three seasons. His career rate isn’t far off from the Vandolorian, who is the best rebounder on the team.

  • John Collins stats: Total rebound percentage -15.6% – Jarred Vanderbilt – 17.8%

As you can see, Collins’s numbers compare favorably to V8. One added benefit that Collins also brings to the table is the ability to stretch the court, stepping out to hit threes. Collins averaged 1.2 makes per game while shooting 36.4% from distance last season with the Hawks. He even added a block per game for good measure, another improvement over Vando’s 0.6 blocks per game.

Collins has more talent than Vanderbilt as is, he doesn’t diminish the team’s rebounding ability by that much and he helps improve the offense even more. He’s a perfect fit.

Related: 2022 Minnesota Timberwolves draft picks, mock draft and ideal scenarios

Timberwolves trade for Julius Randle to form Kentucky frontcourt

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
  • Timberwolves get: Julius Randle
  • Knicks get: D’Angelo Russell, 19th pick, 40th pick

If Tim Connelly is seeking a third star to pair with Ant and KAT, it’s possible the New York Knicks could emerge as the perfect trade partner. Seeking improvement from the point guard position, the Knicks may feel swapping Julius Randle for D’Angelo Russell is worth a deal. This opens up more playing time for Obi Toppin and clears about $5 million off their books.

The additional draft pick gives the Knicks some more trade ammo, whether they package both picks to inch up the draft board, or combine them elsewhere for a different piece that better fits their roster is for them to decide. But at least they’d have a player who can operate the offense and occasionally go off for a big day in the scoring column.

For the Wolves, this trade would mean parting with their point guard of the future, but Patrick Beverley may have stolen his job anyway, thanks to his defensive excellence. DLo is a valued member of the team, but if they’re looking to become a roster than can offer more defensive switchability, Russell is a liability.

Finding a long-term power forward next to KAT has been an issue ever since he came into the league in 2015. Trading for Julius Randle could finally solve that gaping hole for good. Randle made an All-Star team in 2020, so the Knicks may not be in a rush to trade their star, but maybe it’s time for a change in scenery after regressing back to the norm last year.

Randle may not be as good of a rebounder as Christian Wood, and his shooting splits took a major hit last season, but he still put up over 20 points per game with the Knicks. He’s a bully in the low post, but his propensity to get into foul trouble could make this a bad fit. Can’t have Towns and Randle constantly in foul trouble.

Related: D’Angelo Russell trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves expected: 2 potential landing spots

Timberwolves add a Unicorn next to KAT

NBA: Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves
David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
  • Timberwolves get: Kristaps Porzingis
  • Wizards get: Patrick Beverley, Malik Beasley, 19th pick, 40th pick

I had to save the best for last. I know Anthony Edwards would be on board with the Wolves trading for Kristaps Porzingis, he stated his feelings for why The Unicorn is the best rim protector in the NBA last season.

The Wolves don’t struggle with rim protection, they had the third-most blocks per game in 2021, but that’s not the point here. Adding the 7-foot-3 Porzingis gives the Wolves a suddenly intimidating frontcourt, as unlike many players north of seven feet, Porzingis primarily plays power forward.

Imagine both Porzingis and Towns on the Wolves. You’d have two players capable of handling, dishing, stepping out for threes, all while being able to rebound and defend at a high level. Sure, Towns may not be the best individual defender out there, but he’s taken strides on that end of the court, and having a monster like Porzingis would only make his life easier.

Out of all the potential offseason acquisitions for the T-Wolves, Porzingis is at the very top of my list and it’s not even close.

Related: Minnesota Timberwolves offseason preview: Four moves team must make to return to playoffs