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Why the Wolves should go all-in to trade for Devin Booker

The one name the Wolves should be poking around the most in the trade market is Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.

Just last season, impatience played itself out in New Orleans as Anthony Davis forced a trade to the Los Angeles Lakers. As I pointed out last week, the same situation could someday play out in Minnesota if the Timberwolves don't surround Karl-Anthony Towns with talent.

As it turns out, the means of the Timberwolves doing such a thing might have to come from outside the old draft-and-develop mantra unless the past two first-round picks, Josh Okogie and Jarret Culver, turn into stars. 

A more surefire move, however, would be Wolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas acting with urgency.

To Rosas' credit, the aggressive approach has been there, but not the results. The Wolves failed to land D'Angelo Russell last summer in free agency but did make an aggressive trade to land Culver on draft night. Outside of that, the Wolves have made modest moves to fill out the roster, but they need to hit the trade market in order to give this team a boost.

That avenue has plenty of potential names (including Kyle Lowry who was the subject of an ESPN report earlier this week), but the one name the Wolves should be poking around the most is Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.

Booker is currently languishing in Phoenix where the Suns haven't done the best job of surrounding him with talent. As he reported for training camp last week, Booker was getting to know his fourth different coach in the past four seasons and a new roster that includes former Wolves Ricky Rubio and Dario Saric.

While the Suns also added De'Andre Ayton with the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, they haven't done a great job of surrounding their young star, who will turn 23 on October 30, with difference-making talent. 

With the Suns basically having no one else around Booker to step up, he's basically had to do everything by himself. Booker's points per game have increased in each of his four seasons and his high-water mark of 26.6 points per game came as he was banged up throughout the 2018-19 season. 

Those injuries may also explain why his 3-point percentage dropped to a career-low 32.6% after improving in each of his first three seasons.

Even with efficiency being a question, Booker would definitely be an upgrade on Andrew Wiggins just on sheer volume. With the 3-pointer being a key staple in today's game, Booker has attempted 5.5 threes a game since coming into the league, which would trump Wiggins' 3.2 attempts per game and give the Wolves the same effect they were hoping to add with Russell, who shot 6.1 threes per game with the Nets last season. 

Booker + Towns

In addition, Booker also has ties to Towns, which in today's era of BFF's and banana boat rides, is pretty important. The duo played on the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats team that was upset by Wisconsin in that season's Final Four, ending Kentucky's bid at a perfect season. 

"He's like a brother to me," Towns said of Booker in a 2017 interview. "Those bonds are something that goes all the way back to Kentucky and it's something that can't be broken."

Suns would probably have to take Wiggins

Of course, acquiring Booker and giving up the assets to do so may be more challenging than just giving Phoenix General Manager James Jones a call. The Suns signed Booker to a max deal in the summer of 2018, which will pay him a total of $158 million beginning this season.

That means that Rosas will have to convince the Suns to take on Wiggins' salary plus give Phoenix assets that will actually entice them part with their star player. With a talent like Booker, the Timberwolves should make virtually everyone outside of Towns available. 

The Wolves could also mix in a couple of first-round picks and with the ability to lottery protect said picks so they can only be used when the moon is blood red and the planets of the Grimlap system align, and there's a good chance that the Wolves might not even need that pick by the time the Suns can even use it.

Adding Booker would not cure all that ails the Wolves, but if they can find a way to pull it off and add some extra shooting and defense around Booker and KAT in the coming years, it would be a major step toward bringing the Wolves back to relevancy.

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