NBA Rumors: Hornets Could Trade Nicolas Batum And 2nd-Round Pick For Andrew Wiggins, Per ‘Bleacher Report’

Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second half of the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 22, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Christian Petersen / Getty Images

The departure of Kemba Walker in the 2019 NBA free agency has dramatically changed the course the Charlotte Hornets will be taking in the 2019-20 NBA season. From trying to remain a competitive team in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets are now expected to focus more on the development of their young players. However, instead of admitting that they are currently in a rebuilding mode, Hornets General Manager Mitch Kupchak preferred to call the process “transition.”

“If there is a master plan, it is to transition from a team built around a superstar to a team built around our young players and a style of play,” Kupchak said in an interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.

Though they still have veterans on their roster, Hornets Head Coach James Borrego said that they are under no obligation to give them significant playing time in the 2019-20 NBA season, hinting at the possibility that the likes of Nicolas Batum could be available on the trade market before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, one of the potential trade partners for the Hornets in a deal involving Batum is the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Hornets will be sending a trade package including Nicolas Batum and a 2020 second-round pick to the Timberwolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.

The trade won’t immediately give the Timberwolves salary cap flexibility since Nicolas Batum still has two years and $52.2 million left on his contract. However, when his deal expires, the Timberwolves will be able to open up enough salary cap space in the summer of 2021 where the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LeBron James, and Bradley Beal will be hitting the free agency market. Pairing one of those superstars with Karl-Anthony Towns would make the Timberwolves a team to fear in the deep Western Conference.

As Buckley noted, the potential deal would not only be beneficial for the Timberwolves, but also for the Hornets.

“As for the Hornets, they gain a clearer post-Kemba Walker direction. The 24-year-old is young and toolsy enough that a down-on-its-luck franchise might still view him as a possible building block. The four years left on his contract would give Charlotte ample time to see what it might have in him, Terry Rozier, Malik Monk, PJ Washington and Miles Bridges.”

Andrew Wiggins may have been a huge disappointment in Minnesota, but being in a new environment where he could receive a more significant role on the offensive end of the floor could help him unleash his full potential. At 24, Wiggins still fits the timeline of the Hornets’ young core of Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, Malik Monk, and P.J. Washington.

However, as of now, the Timberwolves are still hoping that Andrew Wiggins will finally live up to expectations from the massive contract he signed in the summer of 2017. According to a previous article from The Inquisitr, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas has high hopes on Wiggins and wants him to become a “main contributor” for the Timberwolves. However, if Wiggins struggles early on in the 2019-20 NBA season, expect the Timberwolves to make him available on the trade market before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline.