Hawks: Building a hypothetical trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves

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There are rumors swirling that the Minnesota Timberwolves are pursuing Danilo Gallinari in trade talks, and the Hawks could potentially be interested in shedding his contract. However, there are a few issues with a trade like this.

For starters, with Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Ricky Rubio on the books, the Timberwolves are tight for cap space, and the pieces they may have available for trade appear to be younger assets they would want to build around. I don’t think the Hawks are interested in acquiring any more draft picks, and I’m not exactly chomping at the bit to send Gallo packing, but I’ll play around with the idea for now. If Minnesota decides to shift into “win now” mode, the Hawks could build some type of offer for them. Of course, Travis Schlenk would have to be considerate of their salary cap while they work to re-sign John Collins, but I’ll put that to the side for now.

The Hawks would be sending a $20.475 million cap hit for 2021-2022 to Minnesota. In 2022-2023, only $5 million of Gallinari’s salary is fully guaranteed, but you have to imagine if the Timberwolves are giving up assets, they would want him for 2022-2023 as well. Still, after this year, that isn’t Atlanta’s problem.

I think a good starting point for this trade would be Jarrett Culver. He has been disappointing since being selected two picks after De’Andre Hunter in the 2019 NBA Draft. He was selected for his tenacious defense and his budding three point shot. However, Culver has only shot about 29% from 3 for his career and has provided limited scoring. I think his defensive effort would gel with what Nate McMillan does, and hopefully, the Hawks could develop his offensive game. The problem is, the salary is nowhere close enough to matching what the Hawks are sending.

One trade that could work financially is a straight swap of Ricky Rubio for Gallo, which I do not think would benefit the Hawks. Rubio isn’t much of a three-point shooter or scorer, but maybe the Hawks would be interested in adding a backup point guard who can pass and play defense in a salary swap. I think the most realistic scenario is a deal around Rubio and other players. I would rather have Gallo, but a package of Rubio, Jarrett Culver or Josh Okogie, and Naz Reid would be very interesting if you’re the Hawks.

I don’t think the Timberwolves would be interested in this, but the best case scenario for the Hawks would be sending Gallo, the 20th pick, and other assets in exchange for Malik Beasley and Jarrett Culver, Josh Okogie, or Naz Reid. The money would be more of an equal swap, and the Hawks would build more depth. I think Wolves fans would be okay with parting with Culver, but Reid and Beasley have been incredibly valuable for them. Once again, this is a best case scenario for the Hawks that I don’t think is very likely.

I’m not 100% sold on trading Gallinari, but if the Timberwolves are interested, I think they are a logical trade partner and the Hawks could make something work. If the Hawks aren’t interested in Rubio, maybe a third team could get involved and Atlanta could get picks to clear cap space for another star. Either way, this will be a critical offseason in Atlanta.

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