MILWAUKEE – The Timberwolves struck a deal to address their bench scoring needs ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline, acquiring guard Monte Morris from the Pistons in exchange for Troy Brown Jr., Shake Milton and a second-round pick, a source confirmed Wednesday.
The second rounder is the Wolves' own in 2030.
He will be a free agent after this season and is making $9.8 million this season. The Wolves take on about $800,000 more worth in salary in the deal, but they are still about $1.6 million below the luxury tax line. They currently have 13 players on their roster (not counting two-way players), and will need to fill out a 14th spot eventually, per NBA rules, but they can wait two weeks to do so and see how the rest of the trade deadline and buyout market shakes out.
Brown was in 37 games (three starts) and averaged 4.2 points per game. Milton, signed as a free agent in the offseason, played in 38 games and averaged 4.7 points. The Wolves made the move in part because they weren't getting what they had hoped for out of Milton, who they signed to a two-year deal worth $5 million for this season.
Milton was a regular part of the rotation early in the season and the Wolves had high hopes he would be the team's backup point guard and primary creator off the bench, but the role never seemed to click for Milton in Minnesota. He heads to Detroit shooting just 40% from the field.
Brown's short Wolves tenure contained more highs, as he played a key role in some Wolves wins earlier this season, like a home win over Oklahoma City on Nov. 28 when he had 17 points off the bench. Brown was usually solid in the minutes he played, but he often found himself on the outside of coach Chris Finch's eight- or nine-man rotations.
Morris played college basketball at Iowa State and was a second-round pick by the Nuggets in 2017. He played for Denver until 2022, when he was traded to the Wizards, who traded him to Detroit last offseason.
Prior to this season, Morris averaged double digits in each of the last three seasons. For his career, he averages just 0.8 turnovers per game, something the turnover-prone Wolves could use.
With the Morris deal, the Wolves seem to have made their move at this deadline, though it's hard to say how the rest of the trade market will play out before Thursday's 2 p.m. deadline. They were scouring the market for scoring off the bench and potentially a backup point guard, and they were interested in a reunion with Apple Valley's Tyus Jones, sources said, but the asking price for Jones, which is likely a first-round pick, was too steep for what the Wolves could give in terms of draft capital. The Wolves can't trade any of their first-round picks until 2031 as a result of the Rudy Gobert trade, thanks to the Stepien Rule, which says teams can't trade first-round picks in consecutive years.
The deal also allows the Wolves to hang onto a high second-round pick this offseason. The Wolves will receive the lesser second-round pick between Washington (9-40) and Memphis (18-33).