The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to capitalize on their positive start to the season. Without including the single full season of Jimmy Butler, the Timberwolves have not made the playoffs since 2004. This season, however, they are at 27-25 and they are looking to solidify their place in the Western Conference. Still, even with their great first half of the season, the Timberwolves are looking to improve. It is not surprising, then, to hear rumors about the potential interest of the Wolves in Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart. To help them get their man, here are the three best Marcus Smart trades the Timberwolves can offer the Celtics.
Best Timberwolves trade offers for Marcus Smart
3. Malik Beasley, a protected first-round pick, for Marcus Smart
In a pretty straight-up trade, the Timberwolves could send Malik Beasley to get the defensive-minded point guard from Boston. Beasley has been playing well for the first season and a half in the Minnesota jersey, but this season has been a disappointment. Still, he has been an okay offensive player, even this season. He is averaging 12.1 points, albeit with terrible efficiency. He is only 25 and just last season he was averaging almost 20 points on 44% shooting from the field and almost 40% from behind the arc.
The Celtics do this trade simply based on the previous season of Beasley and for the first-rounder from the Timberwolves. If he can explode in the same way he has for the Timberwolves when he arrived in a trade from Denver in 2020, he should be a great addition to the Celtics offense that took a hit with Evan Fournier leaving in the offseason. A small addition to the value of this deal would be flexibility. Smart has five years left on his deal, while Beasley only has two, so his contract is definitely moveable if things do not work out.
The Timberwolves do this deal because they need to move on from Beasley. His terrible efficiency has been the tale of the season and while they were able to find success even with that circumstance, they should still move on. Getting Smart would bolster their guard defense since the duo of Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell does not instill fear in the opposing backcourts.
2. Taurean Prince, picks, for Marcus Smart
Another fairly straight-up deal, the Celtics would be getting the NBA journeyman Taurean Prince to improve on their wing defense. Prince has taken a hit from his Cavaliers, Nets, and Hawks numbers, but he can still do great as a primary wing defender. This season is his worst since his rookie season, but that does not mean that he could be better utilized in another system. He had a very poor first half of the season in Brooklyn last year but turned it around when he was traded to the Cavaliers.
The Celtics do this trade to really get another wing defender. The C’s are going for a playoff run and while they have some youth, they are clearly in win-now mode. Thus, in a conference that has guys like Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and others, getting a player like Prince to help out sounds like a necessity. Also, similar to Beasley, the contract of Prince is expiring, so they could clear a ton of space to sign a solid third player next to Brown and Tatum in the offseason with this deal.
On the other hand, the Timberwolves do this for similar reasons as above. Just as the East has top-level wings, the West has some incredible guards and while they have Patrick Beverley, Marcus Smart simply brings more to the fold. Losing Prince does not really mean much to them, as they would lose him in the offseason regardless.
1. Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, for Marcus Smart
If the Timberwolves want to avoid using picks, this trade is right up their alley. While both Vanderbilt and Beverley are having solid seasons for the Wolves, their production could be worth giving over for someone like Smart. In other terms, losing Vanderbilt should not impact the roster as much, while Smart does everything that Beverley does, just better.
The Celtics do this deal simply because of cap flexibility. Vanderbilt does have three years remaining on his deal, but at a $4 million salary per year, he should not be an issue. Beverley has one more season left on his contract, so moving on from him should not be an issue for the C’s. He could be the hustle defender that the squad needs, while more would be asked out of the offensive tools that the Celtics have on their roster to replace Smart in that regard.
When it comes to the Timberwolves, all the same reasons apply. Getting Smart would be an upgrade on Beverley and will give the Wolves the core they want, with Smart signed for the next five years. Coming off the bench, Smart should be handling the specific matchups that most hurt the Timberwolves, especially against the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns that have elite guards on both positions. If the Wolves want to make a splash in the playoff, they need to pick up Smart and one of these three avenues might be the road they ultimately take.