Needless to say, there’s plenty of “kick me” post-it notes attached to the backs of many Minnesota Timberwolves’ front office executives that were in favor of inking 2014-2015 Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins to his five-year/$146.5 million dollar extension last year.
As Wiggins sat with his parents and close advisers to negotiate the new deal, owner of the Timberwolves Glen Taylor made sure to emphasize the importance of commitment that came with such a hefty contract. His offensive potential has lived up to its reputation at his current age, but his defensive effort and lack of spacing on the floor makes him a head scratcher to play in this tempo.
“It’s motivation to get better and show everybody what I can do, the other stuff I can do,” Wiggins said following the extension according to USA Today, “The stuff they think I can do, add more, just keep on adding to my game.”
All the more, the facts still remain—and they aren’t necessarily pretty. He’s coming off this past season averaging 17.7 points per game, his lowest since his rookie season. His three-point shooting (33.1 percent) hasn’t necessarily aided or masked his offensive woes as he tried to find a groove throughout the entire season.
To be the highest paid player on the roster currently, it was often a tragic sight to see the 23-year old become the third option behind Karl Anthony-Towns and newcomer Jimmy Butler, whom he’s struggled to strive with on the floor.
There’s no concrete affirmation that Wiggins will be moved, but if by midway through the upcoming season there’s no sign of improvement, Wiggins will surely be one of the first to go far before KAT or Butler, both of whom the T-Wolves have made significant strides to get extensions done for, and have displayed their value under coach Tom Thibodeau. With that being said, just as sure as there’s a team fielding a player, there’s always a team listening.
Denver Nuggets get: Andrew Wiggins
The Nuggets sadly have been overlooked for their young brimming talent this past year in such an overstocked Western conference, adding Wiggins who already comes with the tag “All-Star” helps bring the Nuggets back to prime publicity with more nationally televised games, a feat they truly haven’t seen since the great days of Carmelo Anthony.
On the important side of things, it gives the Nuggets another go-to scorer in clutch situations, taking the pressure off of young and developing scorers in Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. Paired with newcomer Isaiah Thomas who can create spacing and draw the defense’s attention towards his penetration scoring, Wiggins could see more efficiency in scoring and production in Denver while being able to allow the offense to come to him, rather than force it.
Minnesota Timberwolves get: Michael Porter Jr., Mason Plumlee, Will Barton, 2019 2nd round pick
Minnesota can walk away the winner with this deal, having loosened an unsure financial obligation in Wiggins, and lessened the chances of losing Butler this upcoming offseason due to his concern of Wiggin’s lack of effort on the court.
They can then focus on landing extensions with both Towns and Butler, while also retaining key role players in Will Barton and Mason Plumlee and also securing a future pick. The real possible steal here, may be Michael Porter Jr., the 14th selection in this year’s draft by the Nuggets.
Porter was seen earlier last year as a top three lottery pick, as even stated by his current teammate Isaiah who’s ecstatic to relish in the opportunity to play next to the rookie he’d gloated about a week before the draft or finding out he’d be with Denver himself.
Michael Porter Jr is the best player in the draft!!! No question about it… Pass on him if you want too
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) June 14, 2018
Porter’s draft stock saw a bit of a fall due to a back injury he suffered in the first two minutes of a season opener with Mizzou, limiting him to only two games for his entire college career. When January strikes, this deal or something similar may be at the forefront of headlines.
Cleveland gets: Andrew Wiggins, 2019 1st Round Pick
This falls under the “What could have been and we could still be'” trade. Turning back the clocks. Wiggins is placed right back where he would have been with the team that selected him first in the 2014 draft. Putting him back in Cleveland with the departure of both Lebron and Kyrie, puts Wiggins at the forefront and makes him the sure face of the franchise. The entire offense will see itself built around him, giving him the true opportunity to maximize his stats and value going forward.
Minnesota gets: Kevin Love, Collin Sexton
The money adds up in this deal, primarily spot on between Love and Wiggins. As it delivers Wiggins back to his original draft team, it will do the same for the 30-year old Kevin Love.
For Love, the move makes no sense in the current state. He’s finally the best player on the roster once more, and can completely elevate back to the double-double machine he once was. Though for the Cavs, in time, it may make perfect sense. Signing Love to a 4 year deal at the age of 30 may have not been the best move going forward for the franchise.
If they see in time that he’s not producing the numbers that his contract imposes, nor does he help attract free agent talent to a less-than-exciting city of Cleveland, the front office could take a deeper look into making a move for a younger Williams with more development potential. Adding Collin Sexton, Cleveland’s lottery pick from the Irving trade gives Minnesota the option to stay on the path of youth and longevity with a long-term rookie contract under fold.
Philly gets: Andrew Wiggins
“The Process” takes the cake with this one, as they can retain a coveted scoring wing to pair with the likes of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, giving them ultimate length and players whom can slide into multiple positions. After losing out on Lebron this offseason, they could be primed to make a move.
Losing Markelle Fultz may turn out to be hefty, or could turn out to be masked by the fact that they pretty much have a solidified ball handler and playmaker in Simmons. The 76ers, aside from JJ Redick, don’t posses many capable shooters. Adding Wiggins and given the right chemistry, can produce more efficiency from the field, leaving Simmons and Embiid to stick to their true attributes, making them a deadly force.
Minnesota gets: Markelle Fultz, Chandler Wilson
If the T-Wolves truly get to the point of wanting to exile Wiggins, this trade comes at low-risk high-return possibility. If Fultz, transforms into what many league execs believe he can pending anymore setbacks, the Wolves could be looking at their future star guard to pair alongside Butler and Towns.
If he turns into only a fraction of that, they’ve retained his services for a low cost and could possibly ship him in the future if need be. Jeff Teague only has a few years remaining on his bill, making the transition to Fultz full-time a perfect scenario. For insurance on losing a wing scorer, they’d also grab the services of Chandler Wilson for the year.
Washington gets: Andrew Wiggins
If you ask John Wall after suffering yet another disappointing postseason, they were one star player give or take away from being serious contenders— and this could be that player. We’ve seen the ceiling of what the current Wizards squad can achieve, which is the second round of the playoffs at best.
Adding an athletic, young scoring wing could be the best bet for a team looking to once again strike while they’ve can. The front office hash helped solidify the front court, adding Dwight Howard to the mix this offseason after his buyout with the Nets. A starting five of Wall, Beal, Wiggins, Morris, and Howard could potentially be deadly as each player has the true possibility to play to their strength without much workload on the other ends.
Minnesota gets: Otto Porter Jr., Kelly Oubre, 2019 1st Round Pick
Porter’s contract makes this deal possible, as he cashed in like many of the mid-tier players in the summer of 2017 on max-tier money coming out on average at $26.5 million a year. His 3-and-D abilities have held true to form throughout his tenure in Washington, as he’s came through in many late game situations when either Beal or Wall were absent.
The true highlight very well may be Kelly Oubre, a young forward that’s shown constant glimpses of what he could be given the right system. His consistency and defensive efforts have often been a concern, areas that could improve with the right amount of minutes and system. If all else fails, adding in Washington’s 2019 1st round pick only sweetens the deal.
Dallas gets: Andrew Wiggins
Minnesota gets: Harrison Barnes
This is just a like-for-like situation. Both wings have been acceptable in their respectable roles for their teams, but could definitely start to elevate to their contract value given the right environment. Dallas, on the horizon of losing Dirk to his eventual retirement, will be in search of its next captain and face of the franchise.
While that very well may be Luka Doncic, who’s to say how well he translates to the American fast tempo pace? Giving a young star in Wiggins a shot at elevating surely to that platform could be a surefire guarantee. Harrison Barnes, a player that can give you 20 or more points on any given night, has shown this past year that perhaps he’s not the type of player to prefer a system built around him, versus easing into a system that he can adjust his talents to, which fits perfectly with the direction the T-Wolves are trying to steer towards.