It can be difficult to find two willing trade partners with assets that match each other’s needs. Bringing another team into the mix adds another set of needs to the equation, but it also provides another set of players and salaries to plug a deal’s holes. We’ve heard rumors about the Wolves' willingness to trade Michael Beasley, perhaps to the Celtics. Unless Wolves GM David Kahn is ready to unload Beasley on the cheap, which seems unlikely to me, it’s not immediately clear how the Celtics could make such a deal worthwhile to Minnesota. The most obvious need the Wolves have is at shooting guard, and while Ray Allen would certainly help them secure a playoff spot this year, he becomes a free agent in July, the same month he turns 37. Allen wouldn’t fit the long-term needs of a team still a ways from contending.
Meanwhile, Golden State has apparently been dangling Monta Ellis in their ongoing quest to land Dwight Howard. Yet as the Magic strengthen their resolve to keep Howard past the trade deadline, it becomes increasingly clear the Warriors’ only shot at Howard will come in free agency. Currently, according to Storytellers Contracts, Golden State has close to $47.32MM in cap commitments for next season, which puts them only about $10MM below next year’s expected salary cap of $58.04MM. If they could turn Monta Ellis and his $11MM-per-year deal into an expiring contract, they could open up enough money to sign Howard and still add some extra parts around him.
A three-way trade sending Beasley and Anthony Randolph to Boston, Ellis to Minnesota and Allen to Golden State could benefit all three teams. The Wolves would get a high-scoring shooting guard who’s signed through 2014 to help them climb up a few more pegs in the West. The Warriors would end the longstanding debate over whether Ellis and Stephen Curry could coexist, get a veteran mentor for surprising rookie Klay Thompson, and cap room to go after Howard and others this summer. The aging Celtics would get a 23-year-old former No. 2 overall pick to start their rebuilding process. They’d also get 22-year-old Randolph, who isn’t seeing much time this year but put up 11.7 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 20.1 MPG for the Wolves last year after they acquired him as the third team in the Carmelo Anthony deal. It’s worth noting, too, that Randolph’s 17.4 PER this season exceeds Beasley’s 13.7.
There are plenty of reasons why this trade wouldn’t work. The Warriors might be skittish about letting Ellis go without any promise of Howard. If the Celtics find Rajon Rondo’s behavior immature, they may be wary of Beasley’s brushes with the law. Still, there are plenty of reasons why this three-teamer is at least worth exploring.