NBA Rumors: Aaron Gordon, John Collins Linked as Trade Targets for Timberwolves

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2021

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) looks to pass the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The Minnesota Timberwolves have reportedly "shown interest" in a pair of high-profile power forwards, with the Atlanta Hawks' John Collins and Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon looking appealing ahead of the 2021 NBA trade deadline on March 25.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Thursday the Wolves and Magic held "substantive conversations" about Gordon before he suffered an ankle injury in a Jan. 31 loss to the Toronto Raptors, and those talks could pick back up once he's close to a return.

Minnesota owns the NBA's worst record at 7-29 and has lost nine straight games heading into the All-Star break, but it sounds like that may not stop the front office from adding an instant-impact player.

The Timberwolves made a similar move before last season's deadline, trading Andrew Wiggins and draft picks to the Golden State Warriors for a package headlined by D'Angelo Russell.

Although the Wolves feature three players averaging over 19 points—Karl-Anthony Towns (22.0), Malik Beasley (20.5) and D'Angelo Russell (19.3)—and rookie Anthony Edwards (14.9) starting to show signs of breaking out, team success hasn't followed.

Injuries have been a factor, with Towns and Russell both missing double-digit games already, but the hole that's been dug is likely too large, even if the roster is more healthy in the season's second half, because of the strength of the Western Conference.

Minnesota has been hesitant to embark on a full-scale rebuild, and it would be hard to pull off at this point with Towns, Russell, Beasley and point guard Ricky Rubio all signed to lucrative multiyear contracts, so the goal is to add another piece that could help sooner than later.

Gordon, who's under contract for next season as part of a four-year, $80 million deal, could be a nice fit.

The 25-year-old University of Arizona product averaged 13.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists across 19 appearances for the Magic this season before the ankle injury.

His initial timetable to return was four-to-six weeks, so he should be close to a return shortly after the All-Star break, and it sounds like negotiations between Orlando and Minnesota may then heat back up.

The Wolves figure to face more competition if they seriously pursue Collins, who's averaged 16.5 points and 8.6 rebounds while shooting 56.5 percent from the field across 212 career games with the Hawks.

Atlanta also remains in the playoff hunt, and if that's still the case as the deadline moves closer, it "appears unlikely" the 23-year-old Utah native will be moved, per Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Add in the fact he'll be a restricted free agent at season's end, and he doesn't seem like an ideal fit for the Timberwolves at this stage, though he'd certainly provide a boost to the roster.