The Minnesota Timberwolves decided to get in on the Miami-Memphis trade action after the Heat and Grizzlies agreed to a deal earlier today. Per The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski the Timberwolves are trading Gorgui Dieng to the Grizzlies in exchange for James Johnson.
The Timberwolves have traded Gorgui Dieng to Memphis for James Johnson, league sources tell @TheAthleticMIN— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) February 6, 2020
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the deal will be done as a three-way trade between Minnesota, Memphis and Miami presumably to make the call into the league office easier.
Swapping out James Johnson for Gorgui Dieng gives the Grizzlies a legitimate backup center behind Jonas Valanciunas, and his contract will expire at the end of next season and will cost just $1 million more than Johnson.
Dieng has averaged 7.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in just under 17 minutes per game on the season for the Timberwolves. He’ll bring added size and rim-protecting ability to the Grizzlies, who have had a small need for a larger back up big man all season.
Johnson was a fan favorite for the Grizzlies back in the 2013-2014 season, but his fit was interesting at best following the trade with Miami. The Grizzlies flipping him to Minnesota for Dieng allows the Timberwolves to build up their depth on the wing after they traded away Andrew Wiggins, while Dieng will play a more important role in Memphis.
A true win-win trade in my eyes.