The Minnesota Timberwolves may be off to a historic start in a wide open Western Conference, but that doesn’t mean President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and the team’s front office won’t be actively trying to improve the team leading up to the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline.
This year, the deadline is Thursday, February 8 at 2 PM CT.
Keep in mind that since Connelly first took over as the lead executive for the Denver Nuggets in 2013, he has been very active at the trade deadline. Connelly executed two trades both in 2014 and 2015; one trade in 2016; two trades in 2017; one trade in 2018; two trades in 2020 (including the four-team mega deal with the Wolves, Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets); two trades in 2021; made a trade nearly a month in advance of the deadline in 2022; and swung one of the best trades in recent NBA memory last season when he moved D’Angelo Russell in exchange for Mike Conley, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and three second-round picks, one of which was used to help the Wolves move up to select Leonard Miller in the 2023 NBA Draft.
So, the only year Connelly hasn’t made a trade in advance of the deadline was 2019. That season, the Nuggets made their jump from ninth in the West (at 46-36, which is insane) in 2017-18 to second (54-28), so it is understandable why Connelly elected not to rock the boat in any way. Although, they did lose in the first round of the playoffs to the DeMar DeRozan/LaMarcus Aldridge San Antonio Spurs squad.
This year, Connelly and Co. have limited assets to work with.
Minnesota has five tradable second-round picks, headlined by a 2024 pick that will be the least favorable among the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies second-round selection (likely Memphis’s pick). They also can move second-round picks in 2025 (via Utah Jazz) and 2026 (least favorable of the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs), as well as their own second-round selections in 2028 and 2030.
The Wolves cannot trade a first-round pick, in accordance with the Stepien Rule, which prohibits teams from trading two consecutive future first-round selections in (Ex: trading first-round picks in 2026 and 2027 during the 2023-24 season).
Minnesota sent out their first-round picks in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029 (top-five protected) and the right for Utah to swap first-round picks in 2026 as part of the package that landed Rudy Gobert. NBA teams can only trade picks for seven drafts in advance, which makes the 2030 NBA Draft the one furthest into the future for which teams can move their future selections. Once the 2024 NBA Draft ends, Minnesota will be able to use their 2031 first-round pick in a trade, if they wish.
Beyond picks, the Wolves have players with movable salaries on expiring contracts:
- Kyle Anderson ($9.2 million)
- Shake Milton ($5.0 million)
- Troy Brown Jr. ($4.0 million)
Minnesota also has a pair of young players they could send out as sweeteners or salary fillers in any potential deal, as well in Josh Minott and Wendell Moore Jr.
No matter what the Wolves do in the coming weeks, we’ll have you covered here at Canis Hoopus. All stories regarding the team’s activity leading up to the deadline and in the buyout market will be linked in the stream below.