NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Rumblings on Team Plans as 2017 Draft Approaches

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02:  Ricky Rubio #9 of the Minnesota Timberwolves heads for the net as Kyle O'Quinn #9 of the New York Knicks defends at Madison Square Garden on December 2, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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After a disastrous season and a draft pick just below the top five, a team will often explore trade options to acquire immediate roster impact.

The Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks sit at the No. 7 and No. 8 spots. Fortunately, it's a deep draft class that potentially offers starting-quality players through the first eight slots. However, the perceived talent level drops after the sixth pick, barring an unforeseen draft slip.

Unless the Orlando Magic pass on Malik Monk, who's the purest shooter at the top of the 2017 class, the Timberwolves and Knicks have to consider plan-B options to fill 2-guard and scoring voids.

Interestingly, we could see the Timberwolves and Knicks conduct offseason business via trade.

What are the latest trade rumors coming out of New York? How will head coach and team president of the Timberwolves Tom Thibodeau approach the draft?

     

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Will Knicks Revisit Trade Talks for Ricky Rubio?

During the 2016-17 season, the Knicks attempted to swap Derrick Rose for pass-first point guard Ricky Rubio, but the Timberwolves nixed the deal at the deadline, per ESPN.com's Marc Stein:

According to ESPN.com's Ian Begley, individuals within the Knicks organization plan to resurrect trade talks for Rubio. 

"Some in the organization were hopeful after the trade deadline that they could revisit their attempts to acquire Rubio from the Minnesota Timberwolves in the offseason, per sources," Begley said.

When the NBA calendar turns on July 1, Rubio will enter the third year on his contract, per Spotrac. Jackson may also consider re-signing Rose. The 28-year-old guard expressed interest in returning to the team to build on what he started in the Big Apple during the previous campaign:

Rose tallied 18 points per game during the previous year, which lists as his highest scoring average since missing the entire 2012-13 season while recovering from a torn ACL. 

In 64 appearances as a Knick, Rose flashed his sustained ability to score, but durability remains an issue. He tore his left meniscus in April. Jackson shouldn't even consider re-signing the former league MVP after undergoing four total surgeries on his knees throughout his nine-year career.

Furthermore, Rubio's passing wizardry fits into the team president's triangle offense. The Timberwolves guard averaged a single-season high 9.1 assists per contest during the 2016-17 season.

     

Timberwolves Considering a Wing Player, Trading Down

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 04:  Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to the calls on the court by the referees against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA basketball game at ORACLE Arena on April 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Many expected the Timberwolves to return to the postseason picture a little too quickly. Despite the reigning Rookie of Year Karl-Anthony Towns' spectacular season, Andrew Wiggins' continuing development as a scoring small forward and Thibodeau's promising coaching resume, Minnesota finished 31-51.

Going into a second season with a franchise perceived to be on the incline, Thibodeau must deliver on expectations for the 2017-18 season. He can help his chances at success with a solid draft pick on June 22.

According to New York Post reporter Marc Berman, the Timberwolves coach and president has his eyes on a potential boost at shooting guard. If not, moving backward may come into consideration.

Jim Mone/Associated Press

"With the seventh pick, the Timberwolves are leaning toward a wing player such as Monk over a big player. An NBA source said Tom Thibodeau, Minnesota's coach and president, has considered trading down, too," Berman said. 

Shooting guard Zach LaVine improved his scoring output from 14 to 18.9 points per contest over the previous two seasons and added a consistent three-point shot to his arsenal. Though, he missed 35 games due to a torn ACL. With a long recovery ahead, it's not a surprise that Thibodeau may select a shooter to pair with Rubio or Dunn in the backcourt for the upcoming season.

    

Knicks Focused on Jae Crowder in Carmelo Anthony Deal

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 2: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks defends the ball against Jae Crowder #99 of the Boston Celtics during the game on February 2, 2016 at Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics pulled off a road postseason victory and showed signs of life in their Eastern Conference Finals matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Nonetheless, it's not going to prevent the Knicks from targeting a key player on Brad Stevens' scrappy roster. 

According to Berman, the Knicks want Crowder as the focal point in exchange for Carmelo Anthony.

"The Post has reported the Knicks are interested in Boston's defensive small forward Jae Crowder as a centerpiece in an Anthony deal," Berman said.

Crowder has blossomed into one the NBA's toughest defenders, and he's able to knock down three-pointers at a good rate. The Knicks won't retrieve equal value for their 10-time All-Star, but a quality two-way player would compensate well for the loss. 

According to The Vertical's Chris Mannix (via CSNNE.com) the Celtics will pursue soon-to-be free agent Gordon Hayward, who played under Stevens for two years at Butler in college. If the 27-year-old forward re-signs with the Jazz, a trade for Anthony may pick up steam in the summer.

     

Stats provided by ESPN.com and Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.