Any time a star player becomes potentially available via trade, members of every other fan base wonder: Could my team make a trade for that player?

So let's run through a little thought exercise on the Rockets' James Harden as he relates to the Timberwolves.

In some ways, conceiving of a Harden trade to Minnesota is completely bonkers. But like Timberwolves President Gersson Rosas, we must do our due diligence on any conceivable notion, however far-fetched it might be.

Let's frame it, as the headline suggests, this way: What would it take for the Wolves to get Harden, both from a philosophical standpoint and a practical standpoint?

*A boatload of assets. The ESPN story linked above suggests the Rockets are looking for, in exchange for Harden, a young franchise cornerstone player and a combination of first round picks or talented young players.

This is actually where the Wolves potentially have more to offer than a lot of other teams. The Nets, who reportedly were Harden's preferred destination to form three-headed monster with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, seemingly don't have the assets or aren't willing to go all-in on a short-term vision.

Same goes for the 76ers. Harden reportedly has widened his list of potential teams he'd like to be traded to, but Philadelphia would be hard-pressed to put together a deal that didn't involve Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons.

At least publicly, new 76ers President Daryl Morey — a known Harden enthusiast after trading for Harden in 2012 and riding his talent for eight trips to the playoffs while both were in Houston — has stated no desire to do that.

This could all be posturing with the Nets and 76ers, and both seem like natural destinations eventually if Harden is traded. That said, the Wolves and Rosas — who also has a strong connection to Harden after working for several years under Morey in Houston — could put together a package including D'Angelo Russell, No. 1 pick Anthony Edwards and other future draft assets.

That would fit the Rockets' criteria and — lo and behold — would work salary-wise.

*A complete 180 on Rosas' stated rebuilding effort. Perhaps the biggest road block to any notion of a Harden-to-Minnesota deal is that Rosas has basically said it's the kind of trade he won't make.

He has consistently talked of players who are on the same timeline as Karl-Anthony Towns, who just turned 25. Harden is 31, and while his crafty game seems suited to age well he is at a much different point in his career. Assuming Russell would have to be part of any Harden deal to match salaries and assets, and that Edwards would likely be part of it as well, that would break up a core with long-term potential before even finding out if it works.

"You have to build your DNA, and that takes time. My goal is that we become a winning team next season and become a playoff team in the following couple of seasons," Rosas said in August. "For this organization, patience is probably more important than anything because as the Jimmy Butler-Tom Thibodeau experiment showed, the benefit of being all in and getting in the playoffs one year set this organization back."

*A willingness for Harden to come here and sign an extension. Harden, who is making the sort of power play common in the NBA these days, finally showed up in Houston on Tuesday after partying in Las Vegas. Even if he is willing to expand his list of desired teams, it seems as though being on a contender is a priority.

The Wolves do not fit that description, though paradoxically they might fit that description if they made a trade for Harden. A starting lineup of Ricky Rubio, Harden, Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez and Towns would score a lot of points and would add one of the NBA's most will three-point shooters — Harden attempted more than 1,000 threes in 2018-19 alone! — to a team whose stated goal is to hoist from deep.

But Minnesota would probably be pretty far down on Harden's list of desired destinations. In a different era, that might not have mattered. These days, with players holding so much power — and Harden a threat to walk away in free agency after the 2021-22 season — keeping stars happy is critical.

Trading for Harden seems like exactly the sort of franchise-altering shortcut that Rosas is specifically looking to avoid.

The far more likely outcome: The Wolves see what they have with their emerging core and hope that nine months ago when they dealt for Russell — another crafty left-handed guard who is comfortable on the ball and off of it — they made the trade that will catapult them toward contention.