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Timberwolves ‘aggressively’ pursuing No. 4 pick, making them potential candidate for three-way trade with Pelicans and Lakers

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It sounds like the Pelicans have at least one suitor for the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft that they got from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade.

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Despite not being able to convince the New Orleans Pelicans to move the Anthony Davis trade back to July 30, the Los Angeles Lakers still have a path to opening up a max slot in free agency, however, it would require that they send the salaries of Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones to a third team. Could the Minnesota Timberwolves be that third team?

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Timberwolves are trying to move up to the No. 4 spot in Thursday’s draft, making them a contender to become the third team in the Davis deal:

It’s not just Minnesota’s interest in the pick that makes them an intriguing candidate, though.

As salary cap guru Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report noted on Wednesday, the Timberwolves have a trade exception worth $2.66 million that can be used to absorb Wagner’s $2.06 million contract. Additionally, the Lakers can send Jones’ minimum deal to Minnesota and the Timberwolves wouldn’t have to send salary back.

The only small obstacle the Lakers would face in this hypothetical scenario is Bonga’s contract. Here’s Pincus to break it down:

Is there any guarantee that the Pelicans would agree to those terms? No, but it’s possible, if not probable, which is what’s important for the Lakers in their pursuit of a max slot.

If the Timberwolves do enter the mix for the No. 4 pick on Thursday, expect Pelinka to try and lure them into the deal.

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