Grade the Trade: Timberwolves swap stars with Cavaliers after playoff elimination

Should the Cavaliers and Timberwolves be trade partners this summer?
Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Five
Dallas Mavericks v Minnesota Timberwolves - Game Five / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages
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Laying out the details

During the regular season, the Timberwolves had the fourth-worst net rating in clutch minutes at -13.1 in 36 games that qualified. The offense seemingly fell apart when Conley was absent, and the T-Wolves did not have another reliable facilitator to turn to in those moments. Despite defensive limitations, Darius Garland gives Minnesota a long-term presence as an offensive coordinator and scoring threat.

With Towns at the center of the deal, Minnesota can offer the Cavaliers draft compensation in return from their seldom remaining options.

Darius Garland to Minnesota GtT

In this deal, the Timberwolves bring their cap sheet down by roughly $7 million, but they still remain above the second apron. Garland's most expensive year on his current deal is still under what KAT made this past season, though, helping their future financial stability. On the final year of Towns' contract, the long-time Timberwolf is owed over $61 million in the 2027-28 season. The T-Wolves move on from their last No. 1 Overall pick in Towns in favor of a slightly more manageable payroll and a long-term point guard.

Minnesota cashes in the rest of their draft assets to compensate the Cavs for the extra salary and the loss of stretch forward Dean Wade. Wade, who was injured throughout the majority of Cleveland's postseason run, has a wildly team-friendly contract at just $6.1 million next season. The Timberwolves would likely agree to this deal, pairing Garland with Edwards and Conley coming off the bench. Additionally, they can give the reigning Sixth Man of the Year Naz Reid a starting role next to Rudy Gobert.

If the T-Wolves are ready to part ways with Towns, do the Cavaliers say yes?