Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported on Monday morning that the Minnesota Timberwolves are expressing interest in Washington Wizards guard Delon Wright and Detroit Pistons combo guard Alec Burks as the team surveys the trade market for a backup point guard upgrade. Scotto also reported on specific players that could be on the move from Minnesota to a new team in the event of a trade:
Rival executives are monitoring Timberwolves bench players Wendell Moore Jr., Shake Milton, and Troy Brown Jr. as potential trade candidates heading into Thursday’s deadline.
The Timberwolves registering interest in both guards is not surprising. Leading up to the free agency window in late June, Minnesota’s President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and his staff engaged with the Wizards about Wright, and the score-first nature of Burks on the lowly Pistons has many contending teams interested in him leading up to the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline, this Thursday, February 8 at 2 PM CT.
Outside of Jones, the true outlier given his salary figure, there is a common trend among the aforementioned players: budget and veteran options capable of helping the team win by addressing critical issues off Minnesota’s bench (floor spacing, passing, and scoring) or adding defense to the league’s top unit.
Scotto pointed out that the Wolves are hopeful to resign Mike Conley this summer, which seems likely. In that case, depending on what Conley’s new contract looks like, Connelly and Co. won’t have that much money to spend elsewhere — making a budget backup one of the only options they can realistically explore.
While Wright and Burks may not be eye-catching players, they can help Wolves Head Coach Chris Finch and his staff in some capacity this season. Keep in mind that given the Wolves’ financial outlook, any player the team acquires at the deadline is likely to be a rest-of-the-season rental unless they sign a minimum deal this summer to stick around next season.
Delon Wright, Washington Wizards PG
After missing 21 of 22 games between November 12th and December 27th, Wright has played in 19 straight games off Washington’s bench, averaging 4.0 and 2.2 assists on 39.2% from the floor and 40.9% from deep in 14.2 minutes.
Statistically, this is the 6-foot-5 guard’s worst season since his rookie year in 2015-16. However, he has never been known as a flashy guard who can score in bunches. Instead, his strengths lie in defense (being a pesky on-ball defender who gets in passing lanes), off-ball three-point shooting (knocking down 43% of his 3-pointers this season), and the ability to initiate offense while sometimes scoring in isolation situations.
All four of those pros could help the Timberwolves out, and trading for him could be a low-cost, high-reward situation, depending on what the team gives up in exchange for him.
Wright is in the final season of a two-year, $16 million extension he signed with Washington in 2022. This season, he is making $8.2 million before becoming an unrestricted free agent. According to Spotrac’s trade machine, the money would work for both teams if the Wolves hypothetically dealt Troy Brown Jr. and Shake Milton — both of whom are not currently in the rotation — to Washington in exchange for Wright. I would guess the Wizards would want a future second-rounder in the deal as well, and in that case, I am sure trading for D-Wright is worth it when considering some of the other options on the market.
However, if the Timberwolves believe Wright would be a rotational player and impact postseason winning while masking some of the current issues, dealing two non-rotational players and a future second-rounder doesn’t seem like a horrible option.
Alec Burks, Detroit Pistons SG
Burks is having a solid statistical season for Detroit, averaging 12.3 points on 38.8% from the floor, 39.2% from beyond the arc, and 89.9% from the charity stripe. His efficiency has been hit or miss, however. You can’t fault Burks all too much for that, though. He is on the worst team in the NBA and isn’t getting any younger (32 years old). Obviously, his timeline doesn’t fit with Detroit’s, and his skill set could be valuable for contending teams, specifically the Timberwolves, who need a scoring punch and more spacing off the bench.
You can go deeper into Burks’ skillset here:
Financially, Burks may be a tough sell to the Wolves. He is in the final season of a 3-year, $30 million contract he signed with the New York Knicks in 2021. He is making $10.5 million this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent. However, in order for Minnesota to acquire him, they would need to part ways with Kyle Anderson and Wendell Moore Jr., or both Milton and Brown, according to Spotrac.
Anderson has been vital defensively for the Wolves this season, and I would not be comfortable losing his impact on that side of the ball and in the locker room for a 32-year-old who gets up shots regardless of whether he is on his game.
Make sure to bookmark our Trade Deadline Tracker and stay up-to-date with the latest rumors, news, and analysis around the Wolves leading up to the deadline this Thursday, February 8, at 2 PM CT.