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Trading up in the 2019 NBA Draft: Yay or Nay?

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Amid swirling rumors, should Minnesota trade up in the draft?

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Southern California Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

There really is no offseason in the NBA. As the official season has come to a close, the rumor mill has heated right back up to its usual scorching temperature. There’s always going to be rumors, but the smoke around the idea of Gersson Rosas and the Minnesota Timberwolves moving up in Thursday’s draft suggests there may be fire.

Gersson Rosas has been adamant about being aggressive since he took over the reins as President of Basketball Operations, and trading up for a top Point Guard prospect would surely qualify as aggressive.

It does beg the question, though, as to whether it is worth to give up assets to trade up in a weak draft.

It is also unclear how, if at all, Minnesota would be able to trade up. The most common deal that’s been floated around has centered around the 11th pick and Jeff Teague being sent to Phoenix for the 6th overall pick and salary filler.

Given that Phoenix, in order to match salary, would likely have to give up Tyler Johnson or the combination of T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, it’s hard to see how the deal would get done without Josh Okogie. Maybe Phoenix really is that desperate for a veteran PG and they like Teague that much, but that seems unlikely.

In terms of trading up to the 4th pick, there doesn’t seem to be a feasible route. I can’t imagine there isn’t a team that can offer a package better than Teague + Okogie + 11.

Additionally, who the Wolves are targeting makes a big difference here.

There’s plenty of reason to be skeptical of Coby White as a true lead guard. Mortgaging two of the only assets Minnesota has in order to draft an imperfect prospect in a weak draft is questionable at best. There’s reason to like the North Carolina product, but is it that much better to have White + whatever salary filler the New Orleans Pelicans would send back as opposed to Josh Okogie and, say, Sekou Doumbouya or P.J. Washington?

If the move up is for Darius Garland, that has a bit more appeal for me, but again, moving up into Garland’s range is not going come cheap. Minnesota would likely need to send 11 + a future first round pick to move up to take Garland who, if we’re being honest, wouldn’t have been picked in the top half of the lottery in last year’s draft.

The aggression and due diligence from Rosas and company is a welcome addition to the Twin Cities. Giving away the few assets the Wolves currently own to move up in a weak draft, however, does not feel like a gamble worth taking.