It's not every night a big trade happens in Minnesota sports.
And I can't recall a night, ever, during which two such trades happened within a few hours of each other.
But that was the scene during a wild Tuesday. First, the Twins nudged their way into a three-team blockbuster with the Dodgers and Red Sox. For their part, they traded away promising flamethrower Brusdar Graterol while acquiring steady No. 3-style starter Kenta Maeda.
Then, a little after 11 p.m., the Wolves one-upped the Twins by being part of a four-team trade that involved 12 players — the biggest deal in terms of volume in the NBA in 20 years. Minnesota traded seemingly its entire roster (OK, really five players) with forward Robert Covington being the key outgoing piece. The Wolves got back four players (shooting guard Malik Beasley is the best of that bunch) and Brooklyn's lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick.
It might not make much sense to think about these deals in tandem, but in reality there are some striking similarities (and it's fun as well because two men at the center of the deals are good friends). Let's try, then, to dissect where the big night of deals leaves both franchises.
It's about money, talent
The deals are highly reflective of where both organizations are in their building process and the trades were, in a way, mirror images of each other.
The Twins won 101 games last season and have an open window spanning several upcoming seasons in which to theoretically contend. A known commodity such as Maeda makes sense, particularly given the terms of his contract.
Dealing a prospect such as Graterol hurts and could come back to haunt the Twins, but at this point he's not much more than a hard thrower with big upside who has excelled in the minors but has also been injury-prone. His career could span a pretty wide range of outcomes; Maeda's floor and ceiling are much closer together.
The Twins likely have concerns about Graterol's long-term viability and health, and they also probably see something in Maeda that makes them think he can be more of a No. 2 starter. For those reasons, this is less of an "all in" move and more of a calculated risk.
The Wolves, on the other hand, are remaking themselves (again). Their biggest asset in a quest to create salary cap space, acquire younger players and accumulate draft picks for future use was Covington. They were able to achieve that in the deal in part because of his ability and in part — like Maeda — because of his contract.
A large part of the attractiveness of both Maeda and Covington is how they hit a sweet spot between proven production and affordability — a rare thing given salary structures in sports, particularly for players their age (Covington is 29, Maeda will turn 32 right after the season starts). So many moves that get made these days have as much to do with money as they do with talent.
Wolves roster in flux
While the Twins deal represents an upgrade to the rotation, the Wolves deal represents a complete roster makeover for a team that started 10-8 but has endured two double-digit losing streaks and the NBA's worst record since Dec. 1.
Combined with the trade of Jeff Teague and Treveon Graham in mid-January, the Wolves have dealt five of their top 10 and seven of their top 15 players in terms of minutes played this season.
It could be a long final 32 games for the Wolves — even longer than Tuesday night.