The Minnesota Timberwolves are reportedly in discussions with the Memphis Grizzlies leading up to the Feb. 20 NBA Trade Deadline in regards to a deal that would send Chase Budinger and J.J. Barea to the Grizzlies while the Wolves would get veterans Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince in return, per a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
For the Grizzlies, the deal makes a ton of sense. The addition of Budinger would add an offensive presence on the wing to their rotation, something Memphis desperately needs. Though he’s been frustrating at times this season and throughout his career, Barea would also be a big addition for Memphis in that he would give them a solid backup point guard playing behind Mike Conley.
However, the move makes a little less sense in the case of Minnesota. As Wojnarowski reported, Timberwolves general manager Flip Saunders “is believed to want to add defensive toughness to his roster.” Considering that Allen is still one of the most revered perimeter defenders in the league, adding him would certainly play to the wishes of Saunders.
Beyond the addition to the defense, though, the trade would hold little value to the Wolves. Allen still has four years remaining on his contract, which is a daunting amount of time for Minnesota to take on considering that Allen is currently 32 years old. Moreover, the trade would take on another year of Prince, who has looked washed-up in the purest sense, beyond this season.
Furthermore, the Timberwolves would be giving up Budinger in the deal, which makes this scenario even more implausible. While Minnesota may want to move Barea to open up space to acquire another point guard to play behind Ricky Rubio, giving up Budinger would severely deplete their outside shooting threat—something that this team made a point of addressing this offseason when they re-signed Budinger and signed Kevin Martin.
Wojnarowski added that the pieces for this deal were fluctuating, but as it is currently rumored it seems unlikely to happen. The language in the report seems to indicate that this could be Memphis floating out rumors to try and boost the value of their assets leading up to the deadline. We’ll see in the coming days if that’s the case or if this rumor actually has solid ground to stand on.