The Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed on a deal to acquire veteran point guard Monte Morris from the Detroit Pistons, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr. and one second-round pick will head to Detroit in order to complete the deal.
As our friend Sean Corp of our brother site Detroit Bad Boys points out, the Pistons have too many players and will need to cut a player or make another trade sending out more players than they acquire in order to make this trade work. So, it may be a bit before it is finalized.
The second-round pick Minnesota is sending is in 2030, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and is the team’s own pick, per Yahoo! Sports’ Jake Fischer. That is a win considering the Wolves will receive the less favorable second-round pick between the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies in this summer’s draft, which figures to be a top-10 selection in the second round, and they did not have to part with it. That pick should be a real asset to a Wolves team that will have limited avenues to improve the team beyond its current construct as a result of their financial and draft pick outlook.
Minnesota is $1.56M below the tax this season with 2 open spots available.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) February 7, 2024
Mike Conley has a $1.5M bonus: $750K reaching the NBA Finals and $750K for winning it all
Jordan McLaughlin has a $100K statistical bonus https://t.co/N6eVch29tQ
The Timberwolves remain below the luxury tax by sending out similar salaries.— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) February 7, 2024
They are $1.6 million below with two open roster spots. They have plenty of flexibility for a buyout player and have 2 weeks to sign a 14th player.
They also create a $4 million trade exception. https://t.co/0MpOvpa17d
Here’s a look at the Wolves’ updated cap sheet:
As it stands, Minnesota is able to sign a buyout player and remain under the luxury tax line. If they were to sign a player for a veteran’s minimum on say, Friday, and the player remained with the Wolves for the remainder of the season, it would cost roughly $759,000.
Wolves President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly drafted Morris to the Denver Nuggets back in 2017 after a storied college career at Iowa State.
Morris, 28, has only played in six games this season because of a right quadriceps strain he suffered in October, and hasn’t played much in those six outings (just 68 total minutes). Given that Morris made his season debut on January 24 and his season-high in minutes is 16, it may take him a little bit to get up to speed.
The Flint, Michigan native averaged 10.3 points on 48.0/38.2/83.1 shooting splits, 5.3 assists to 1.0 turnovers, 3.4 rebounds, and 0.9 stocks across 27.3 minutes per game in 62 contests last season for the Washington Wizards on the heels of a career-best campaign for the Nuggets in 2021-22 in Jamal Murray’s absence.
Beyond ranking near the top of the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio in each year he’s played in the league, Morris has shot at least 37.8% from beyond the arc in each of the last five seasons. He is also an excellent mid-range jump shooter who projects to fit in nicely coming off Rudy Gobert screens and scoring against deep drop coverage.
He also has 48 games of playoff experience across eight playoff series in Denver, where he played extremely well in 2021 and 2022, especially. In 2021, he averaged 13.7 points on 43.1/40.0/72.4 shooting splits, 5.5 assists to 0.7 turnovers, and 2.4 rebounds across 28.6 minutes per contest in 10 games. In 2022, Morris put up 14.0 points on 49.0/42.3/75.0 shooting splits, 5.4 assists to 1.6 turnovers, and 2.2 rebounds across 31.2 minutes per game in five outings.
Morris will be a valuable addition behind Mike Conley for the regular season, as well, considering the Wolves still have a league-high-tying eight back-to-back sets over their final 31 games and have six games with a rest disadvantage compared to just two with a rest advantage, per Positive Residual. Given that Conley is 36, the Timberwolves will be cautious with how they approach those back-to-backs to ensure he is fresh and ready to go for what the team hopes is a deep playoff run.
Milton and Brown Jr. both projected to be rotation or fringe rotation players entering the season, but never panned out the way the Wolves had hopes. Milton put up career-lows nearly across the board after a consistent five-year career in Philadelphia and a strong preseason for the Timberwolves, while Brown Jr. struggled to crack a crowded rotation on the wing, but played well in the opportunity he did earn.