All Things 2021 Minnesota Timberwolves Off-Season Thread

jamiche

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It doesn't solve the front court problem but, as ticketed said, I like that Bev is our asshole now. He can be a very useful player as long as he isn't a prick in the locker room. The wolves are a team that most other teams don't take seriously. With Bev, they will have to take us seriously, whether we are any good or not.
We got something for nothing. By definition, that's a good trade.
 

tikited

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I'm going to belabor this point a bit further, as I've done in the past, but this was such an incredible bust of a pick. After Culver was chosen, picks #7-13 have already established themselves as solid to very good players in the NBA, along with picks 16, 20, 21, 23, 29, and 30. There was so much talent in that draft and somehow, at pick #6, the TWolves botched it-along with giving away Saric in the process.

On another note, I really hope Beverley sticks with the TWolves, they haven't had that type of player in forever and a day on the roster.
I consider it top two worst trades in team history.
 

Frink

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I feel like you will change your mind the first time he gets an opponent to lose it and get ejected.

Eh, didn't happen with Brian Cardinal or any of several goons for the Wild, so....
 




Bob_Loblaw

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Is Beverly going to be a part of a bigger trade?
Doc Rivers love PatBev.

Beasley + PatBev + Okogie + 2 1st Round Picks.

I'm not sure anyone offers PHI more than that (I actually think this helps them more than the rumored GS trade).
 

TruthSeeker

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Doc Rivers love PatBev.

Beasley + PatBev + Okogie + 2 1st Round Picks.

I'm not sure anyone offers PHI more than that (I actually think this helps them more than the rumored GS trade).
We should definitely do that trade, as long as Sinmons is signed long-term.
 

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Doc Rivers love PatBev.

Beasley + PatBev + Okogie + 2 1st Round Picks.

I'm not sure anyone offers PHI more than that (I actually think this helps them more than the rumored GS trade).
Philly wants a star and a young player +multiple picks. They aren't going to budge imo. I think Simmons will still be a 76er to start the season.
 

Iceland12

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The new guy came in and blew his first draft? So much for miracles.

He did. Though in 2020 he got Edwards at #1, Bolmaro #23 and McDaniel #28. They drafted Oturu, traded him and just got him back.

Edwards and McDaniel had a good start, but can't know how good that draft was just yet.
 



BleedGopher

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Britt with a 2 part Q&A series with Chris Finch:

So ideally, you want to call — and I know it is hard to put a number on it — but percentage-wise, maybe a quarter of the plays, or less?

Yeah, probably. We teach our offense, and it all has calls, but we strip the calls as we go through the season. And then we have a group of sets if we want to direct the ball to KAT or D’Lo or Ant, we’ll do that too. But it will be a quarter to a third at the most. There are some games where you just can’t get into your rhythm game and you’ve got to call more plays.

With all the switching you see in the league now, you have all this movement and this read-and-react, and then the switching can bog it all down. So we talk to our guys all the time that if you just stay in the flow of your offense, at some point they’ll break down. We try not to overmanipulate the switches (by opposing defenses).

So at crunch time, I imagine there are more play calls, or do you want to keep trying to push that flow and rhythm?

That’s a great question. It ends up being a little more play calls in crunch time because you obviously want to make sure that your best players are getting touches. But I actually believe that — again, go back to what I said: Why not start at being great by being random? And just trust that at that point in time you are going to get mostly a good look? I really believe that. I’ve been on teams where you don’t have star players, and our motto is, our go-to guy is the open man. You just gotta move it and find it.

Now, late in the game, it ends up being more play calls because it is a heavy pick-and-roll game.

And everybody knows it is coming, though, so there is more doubling even on the pick-and-roll. And so that’s when the open-man idea will be there too. I imagine at that point it is a choice for your superstars.

Right. As I said, with all the switching, now it is about manipulating switches, bringing smalls or getting the matchup that you want because they are going to switch it. But I think some of that stuff just bogs you down too much (in terms of executing a play).

I mean, these guys are really intelligent, but I am a firm believer that under stress, it is hard to be super creative and go totally off the board, so 99 percent of what we do is just a deviation of what we have already done. And it tends to be … I believe in simple and spacing and that kind of stuff. There is a lot of really cool stuff you can do in the league — again, these guys are so talented and you can do so much with them — but it’s hard. You’ll see it here in summer league. All these young coaches will be trying to do everything that they’ve always wanted to do — which is the fun part of it, but it is hard to do that.

I want to talk a little bit more about the balances you have to strike as a coach. For example, the pros and cons of molding your style to fit your personnel versus exercising your philosophy and scheme. Do you tilt one way or the other on that? Just from what we’ve been talking about it seems like the personnel may topple the scheme a little bit for you.

As long as we are getting to our higher-level philosophy, there are a lot of different ways to get there. I learned that in the G League, where you always lose your best players. And when that happens and you try and change like-for-like, you just don’t get the same return. So, say I had a great scoring point guard and all of a sudden my best player is a skilled four. As long as you are playing to the higher philosophy of getting the right shot, playing with pace, moving the ball, you can play with the same structure and same basic action and learn how to reinvent yourself on the fly. That’s where the team teaches you, “Oh, OK, we’ll do this now.”

One of my things has always been if you give great latitude, players will tend to do what they do best. And when they don’t, it is pretty obvious for everyone to see.


Howl Wolves!!
 

BleedGopher

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Part 2 is much more interesting:

So let’s move on to your impressions of the team for this upcoming season. This is a vague opening question but what are the reasons for improvement, the primary reasons why you will be better?

There is a deep and genuine motivation by Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell to have their best offseason ever. And that’s really where it begins and ends, because if your best players aren’t all-in and ready, then you are not going to go very far.

They’ve seen their contemporaries having success. Devin Booker’s in the Finals. Nikola Jokic wins MVP. These are guys who they feel they are every bit as good as, if not better than — or at one point have been better than — in the league.

In 2016, NBA general managers said KAT would be the guy they would start a franchise with above all others.

100 percent. And he still is; he just has to get back to that, right? He has that and he knows that. DLo is healthy, feels good, believes in his team and his teammates. So those two guys.

Then the development of Ant and Jaden. Ant is, as we all have spoken about many times, incredibly gifted, has glimpses of being truly special. He has got to figure out routines. He has got to figure out what it means to be a professional with the right approach, and he is doing it. He cares. His competitive drive might be the highest on our team. But how do we harness that so it becomes productive for everybody, right?

And Jaden, as we talked about, has probably been our most diligent worker in the gym. He has the best foundation in terms of his basketball fundamentals, that is easy to stack skills on.

That’s the core four. Then our other pieces. We are really excited about Vando and really excited about J-Mac (Jordan McLaughlin). We want to get these guys back in the fold. From an analytics point of view, they are checking some boxes that drive winning. And then the rest of our roster.

Malik Beasley gives you that outside shooting.

I coached Beasley for like four games last year. So I don’t even know what that looks like yet.

But you’ve seen the tape on his approach to defense: He takes terrible angles.

Yeah, for sure. Look, we still have to lean into who we are, and that is an offensive team. And that is one of my approaches that I think I learned in the G League, which is, you just have to embrace these guys for who they are. Because they are really good at what they do.

You had a quote the other day from my colleague Jon Krawczynski that you want to go heavy toward offense in terms of your starting personnel and then move to a more blended group. I know it is early and right now it is tough to know. But am I right in hearing that you are okay with opening with a group where four of the five starters are not known for playing quality defense? If you do that you probably do have to be top-eight or something on offense and then down below mediocre on defense, but not 28th (as the Wolves were under Finch last season).

Can’t be 28th, right. And we feel like we can solve our transition defense, which is somewhat related to shot selection and turnovers but also related to effort. We’ve got to get back. We can’t argue with the ref. We can’t stand when we miss a layup. There are so many little things that winning teams don’t do. Just little habits that we have to get out of. And if we can just rebound a little better, which is going to be a little limited: Rebounding isn’t something that you just coach. You either do or you don’t. And if we can solve those two things, I think we have a chance to be near middle-of-the-pack [on defense].

Looking at roster construction, backup point guard is an unknown, and you’ve got a committee at power forward that we don’t know yet how it will shake out. Obviously, Gersson (Rosas, president of basketball operations) is probably not done, but sometimes some things just don’t happen the way you want them to.

Let’s take point guard first. You successfully worked well with DLo off the ball, grooming him that way, knowing he could always play on the ball. He did work well with J-Mac but that can’t happen as often if J-Mac is going to be the primary backup at point guard. So do you think DLo will have to be on-ball more often as it shakes out?


I think now, but hopefully, we’ve got a few more tweaks we are going to make here. I think you are 100 percent accurate in that DLo, he is such a good shooter that you want to have him off the ball. When you have as much skill as we have, you can play a lot of different lineup combinations.

Editor’s note: As stated at the top, the Wolves have indeed tweaked and Beverley will provide more opportunities for Russell to work off the ball.

But in terms of initiation, can Beasley or Anthony Edwards initiate the offense do you think or would you be less comfortable with that?

They can both initiate. Because ultimately we are still going to play through KAT — get it to KAT early.

And what about handles bringing it up — okay as long as there is no pressure?

As long as there is no pressure, yeah. So that is something certainly that we are a little concerned about. We probably need a little more roster balance for ball skills; attacking and playmaking with the ball. We have skilled bigs, which really helps us, but we could use a few more skill players. The two guys we have playing in this (Summer) League, McKinley Wright and Isaiah Miller, they both have a chance.

I agree. Very different players. One is a bulldog, the other is a brain.

Yeah, and they both are a jump shot away from being definitely in the league.

And size. But you are right; they are both pretty solid pickups that you made on the margins.

That’s where we are as a franchise right now. We are still on the come and we have to keep going. It would be great if — I mean, Ricky (Rubio, traded to Cleveland) is going to be a big loss at the other guard, but we feel J-Mac is ready to be a backup.

Why did he have so many problems finishing last year?

Tough question to answer because I didn’t see the first year. But yeah, it was a funky year last season and nobody was really in great shape. That’s where it seemed like fitness can really come into play. It is not running out of breath of anything it is just that your touch isn’t really there because you are a little bit more tired than you think. So I don’t know, but I have every confidence in him. I mean we felt comfortable doing the Ricky trade because of how much we believe in J-Mac.

Is your scorer with the second unit more likely to be Beasley or DLo?

We don’t really know yet. It could be one or both or it could be Ant. It is tough to know yet. Until I know what we are looking like at the four (power forward), it is hard to answer that question. But I think when you look at a finishing lineup, we’re going to be able to put out a lot of firepower and hope to get more stops. Usually at the end of games guys are a little more locked-in defensively.

When you finish, I think Jaden McDaniels is a natural three. I think you do, too. But your finishing lineup now if you have firepower puts him at the four.

Yeah, it does. But the reason that that works is that most people go to similar lineups at the finish. They tend to play small as well.

And if they don’t, your big lineup might be in play, Naz and KAT is an intriguing lineup. But defensively …

We’ve got to figure it out.

In that pairing, KAT seems to be the roamer when you play that way.

Yeah. I mean, we have a couple of different options to go there. It is a priority for us for sure. You know, we had moments where I thought they were really good together. And I kept saying I wanted to do it more. And it was way more situational when we did it. We have to be way more proactive. It has got to be, this is what we’re doing.

Defensively we can either play zone or switch more or we’ve got to find some sort of coverage where those guys can help each other out. I don’t know what that looks like now. There are several things you can do, like play the way Milwaukee plays or go back to the old Clippers, the way Blake and DeAndre played together there, like a two-man rotation. I don’t know what it is but it is up there as a priority in the preseason to figure it out. We have some ideas.

Naz hits the floor a lot and that hurts your on-ball defense. Is there something about his body that makes that happen?

A couple things. One is we’ve addressed it; I told him you have got to stop falling down. He was trying to play to the whistle and they are not giving that call to an undrafted second-unit, second-year big. And he got better at not doing that. But it is funny, we were just talking about this the other day. When you are a tall athlete in basketball growing up, you play the game, you lift, whatever, but the most important thing is your core strength. And a lot of taller guys just don’t have it because they have such a long torso.

Good point.

You watch volleyball players. That is all about core strength. They have to generate power in the air with no foundation. Everything comes from right here [outlines torso].

And that’s where Naz has nothing.

Exactly. So volleyball players are never not on their feet; they always come down on their feet. It is not a contact sport. So that has been a big point of emphasis for our guys this summer; trying to develop that core. But you see this issue in a lot of NBA athletes just because of their length.

If you don’t get a backup five, that will be a lineup you will rely on.

Naz is our backup five. But you are talking like a more traditional five.

A guy who pushes KAT more often to the four than he is right now.

Yeah, yeah. There is a point where you can go out and find a traditional five and he is so good that he can help with KAT’s weaknesses, like rebounding, defense, whatever. KAT’s so skilled offensively that it really works. But a niche five like that, now you risk cannibalizing what KAT does best. Because when he is playing at the four there are going to be matchups that don’t favor him offensively or defensively. Right now he can take big fives off the bounce. So it has got to be the right five next to him.

Bam Adebayo, Jarrett Allen, I can think of a couple like that.

Yeah! And no one is giving them up.

And then the committee at the four; Jaden obviously will get some time there. Vando if you sign him. Nate Knight, the two-way guy in Summer League seems to have a nose for how to play.

Very interesting. Really smart, rugged, athletic and I think he is fearless. He knows how to play, he slows the game down. In many ways he is like — the game has always been about bigs in some ways and now it is about smalls, but where is it going? Toward skilled bigs. Like the more skill you have now at the big positions the better it is. The better it is to stretch the floor, the better it is that they can pass to each other. If you want to play a fluid offense and the ball is going through your big at the top of the floor, you better be able to have guys who can pass and handle it.

And when I think about you wanting to run a pass-oriented offense, that’s where Vando hurts you.

Yeah, a little bit for sure.

Because he doesn’t have the hands. And you can’t teach hands.

He doesn’t have the ball skills. But what he does have is he is a great cutter and he spaces off of KAT really well.

Right, which gets back to what you were talking about before with two- and three-man combinations. And Jaden for whatever reason doesn’t seem to sync up with KAT, or didn’t last season. You would think they would be a lot better together.

I know. So Jaden is like, his offense is up and down because he is trying to figure it out. But he is actually a good cutter too, he just doesn’t have a feel for it yet. I have long felt that getting guys to cut and knowing when to cut is one of the hardest things in the NBA. Because most of the time when you cut you don’t get the ball. You are cutting for your teammates, you are cutting to create space. But when you do have skilled bigs like KAT, now you have guys who want to cut.



Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards (Hannah Foslien / Getty Images)
Jake Layman is probably the best cutter on the roster.

For sure, yeah. Juancho (now traded) is a good cutter. Vando is a good cutter. Jaden is actually a pretty good cutter. We have really good cutters. Ant: Every time he cuts you get a hand-back from KAT in the post if you wanted it.

And if he cuts from the baseline the whole floor tilts.

Exactly. So Jaden’s impact at the four is mostly to stretch the floor. He has proven he can catch and shoot.

If you do defend the three as well as defend the paint this season, that is a lot of closing out on shooters and you are also running a heavy motion offense. Are you worried a little bit about conditioning with your guys? Can you run a ten-man rotation?

Hope to. Certainly nine and if we have enough guys to play we might push it out to ten or eleven. I think this year people will be in better shape. I think last year started blah.


Howl Wolves!!
 

Bob_Loblaw

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Philly wants a star and a young player +multiple picks. They aren't going to budge imo. I think Simmons will still be a 76er to start the season.
Yeah, that's what Philly wants but they won't get that. I think there is a chance that the 76ers end up trading Simmons to the last man standing.

He might end up back in Philly but it would be one of the strangest reunions that I can remember. Simmons clearly wants out. Embiid clearly wants him out.

Maybe Dame pushes hard to leave and there can be some deal made in a swap for Simmons. Barring that . . . it sounds like maybe the Warriors and Wolves? I am not so sure GS's offer is better than ours. But you're right, they could just keep him too.
 

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Yeah, that's what Philly wants but they won't get that. I think there is a chance that the 76ers end up trading Simmons to the last man standing.

He might end up back in Philly but it would be one of the strangest reunions that I can remember. Simmons clearly wants out. Embiid clearly wants him out.

Maybe Dame pushes hard to leave and there can be some deal made in a swap for Simmons. Barring that . . . it sounds like maybe the Warriors and Wolves? I am not so sure GS's offer is better than ours. But you're right, they could just keep him too.
They will have to drop a pick or maybe the young player for a expiring player. They will not trade Simmons without getting an all-star in return, that much I can "guarantee".

I still think he gets traded eventually but it won't be for Beasley (who has little value right now due to his criminal record). Someone elsewhere reminded how Simmons isn't Jimmy Butler, so there won't be as much drama with potentially going back to Philly, like Jimmy had here.

I am personally still interested in getting Simmons, but I'm guessing it would take D-Lo, McDaniels and two #1's. Way too much to give up imo. I would give up D-Lo and two lightly protected #1's....which won't be enough to make Philly bite.
 



jamiche

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They will have to drop a pick or maybe the young player for a expiring player. They will not trade Simmons without getting an all-star in return, that much I can "guarantee".

I still think he gets traded eventually but it won't be for Beasley (who has little value right now due to his criminal record). Someone elsewhere reminded how Simmons isn't Jimmy Butler, so there won't be as much drama with potentially going back to Philly, like Jimmy had here.

I am personally still interested in getting Simmons, but I'm guessing it would take D-Lo, McDaniels and two #1's. Way too much to give up imo. I would give up D-Lo and two lightly protected #1's....which won't be enough to make Philly bite.
I wouldn’t give up McDaniels. They might be able to get away with DLo, Beasley and one #1. Are Kat and Simmons friendly?
 

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I wouldn’t give up McDaniels. They might be able to get away with DLo, Beasley and one #1. Are Kat and Simmons friendly?
Not sure about Kat and Simmons but adding Beasley means Philly needs to add over $10 million in salary. Gets more complicated..
 

jamiche

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Not sure about Kat and Simmons but adding Beasley means Philly needs to add over $10 million in salary. Gets more complicated..
Theoretically, the Sixers could send back Danny Green to make the money work. I know it's highly unlikely but the Sixers would be getting plenty of shooting which Simmons doesn't provide plus a future first of some kind. The wolves would get Simmons plus an expiring Green contract. There's some logic to it on paper, but I recognize that it's a long shot.
 

JimmyJamesMD

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Theoretically, the Sixers could send back Danny Green to make the money work. I know it's highly unlikely but the Sixers would be getting plenty of shooting which Simmons doesn't provide plus a future first of some kind. The wolves would get Simmons plus an expiring Green contract. There's some logic to it on paper, but I recognize that it's a long shot.
That'd be nice.

Only way Wolves get Simmons is if 76ers over value Russell
 

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Theoretically, the Sixers could send back Danny Green to make the money work. I know it's highly unlikely but the Sixers would be getting plenty of shooting which Simmons doesn't provide plus a future first of some kind. The wolves would get Simmons plus an expiring Green contract. There's some logic to it on paper, but I recognize that it's a long shot.
Didn't know Green was still under contract. I'm down.
 

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Didn't know Green was still under contract. I'm down.
Unless things are different this abbreviated offseason, they can't trade Danny Green. He just signed his contract this offseason, so they'd have to wait until December.
 

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Unless things are different this abbreviated offseason, they can't trade Danny Green. He just signed his contract this offseason, so they'd have to wait until December.
I seem to remember something about Green not being available to trade but assumed the reason was he was a free agent.
 

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He did. Though in 2020 he got Edwards at #1, Bolmaro #23 and McDaniel #28. They drafted Oturu, traded him and just got him back.

Edwards and McDaniel had a good start, but can't know how good that draft was just yet.

Huh? Where did you see this?
 

Bob_Loblaw

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I wouldn’t give up McDaniels. They might be able to get away with DLo, Beasley and one #1. Are Kat and Simmons friendly?
Yep. I wouldn't give up McDaniels. I'd give up DLo but you'd have to run it by KAT first. We aren't super far away from KAT demanding out and DLo is his boy.

As far as DLo, Beasley and a 1st (likely need to make it 2). That gets weird then because Philly doesn't get any cap relief, they likely add bad draft picks and then the they likely need to add Seth Curry (so why even trade for Beasley).

I don't think a DLo inclusion makes sense from either side. He makes a lot of money and complicates things. I think the trade would revolve around Beasley, a couple of firsts and expirings We could probably get it done if we included McDaniels.
 

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Yep. I wouldn't give up McDaniels. I'd give up DLo but you'd have to run it by KAT first. We aren't super far away from KAT demanding out and DLo is his boy.

As far as DLo, Beasley and a 1st (likely need to make it 2). That gets weird then because Philly doesn't get any cap relief, they likely add bad draft picks and then the they likely need to add Seth Curry (so why even trade for Beasley).

I don't think a DLo inclusion makes sense from either side. He makes a lot of money and complicates things. I think the trade would revolve around Beasley, a couple of firsts and expirings We could probably get it done if we included McDaniels.
I'd be shocked, and bummed, if they included McDaniels in any trade. Wolves fans are overly optimistic about McDaniels, but what if we aren't wrong... Can't risk trading away a kid like that on a contract like he has.
 

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They will have to drop a pick or maybe the young player for a expiring player. They will not trade Simmons without getting an all-star in return, that much I can "guarantee".

I still think he gets traded eventually but it won't be for Beasley (who has little value right now due to his criminal record). Someone elsewhere reminded how Simmons isn't Jimmy Butler, so there won't be as much drama with potentially going back to Philly, like Jimmy had here.

I am personally still interested in getting Simmons, but I'm guessing it would take D-Lo, McDaniels and two #1's. Way too much to give up imo. I would give up D-Lo and two lightly protected #1's....which won't be enough to make Philly bite.
The McDaniels is the piece I really struggle with. Part of me wouldn't give him up but the other part of me kind of doubts he'll ever be as good as Simmons (or even close).

Also, with that trade proposal, the Wolves would likely be able to sign a max FA next offseason to play with KAT and Simmons.
 

jamiche

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Didn't know Green was still under contract. I'm down.
Just looked at another site and I'm partially wrong on Green. He signed a two year deal with the sixers for $10M/year a couple of weeks ago. I don't know if a player can be traded right away after signing a new contract.
 

jamiche

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That'd be nice.

Only way Wolves get Simmons is if 76ers over value Russell
They might overvalue Russell because the one thing Simmons has never given them is shooting. Especially if Simmons is paired with Beasley, another good shooter. I don't think many teams would be afraid of Beasley's criminal history, especially if there is no history of abusing women. There are all kinds of bad apples in professional sports.
 

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Huh? Where did you see this?

My mistake. Oturu went to Memphis from the Clippers along with Beverly and Rondo on the 15th. When Beverly came to the Wolves a couple of days later, Oturu stayed in Memphis.
 

stocker08

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My mistake. Oturu went to Memphis from the Clippers along with Beverly and Rondo on the 15th. When Beverly came to the Wolves a couple of days later, Oturu stayed in Memphis.

Yeah, I saw that he went with to Memphis. That would have been pretty cool if he was part of the trade back here.
 

BleedGopher

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Nice STrib profile: Marc Lore seeks to work his magic to make Timberwolves an NBA power player

Getting to know you​

Rodriguez said he and Lore have looked at what the Milwaukee Bucks did in building their organization into the most recent championship winner.

"That gives you a bit of a blueprint for what can be done in Minnesota, [which is] even in a bigger market than Milwaukee," Rodriguez said. "I'm very optimistic. I know Marc is very optimistic, and I know they're ready to go all in to win." Rodriguez laughed when asked if he had ever been on the receiving end of Lore's tricks.

"Oh, yeah. I've seen a bunch of them, and a couple of them, I had a few cocktails, so I was so confused," Rodriguez said. "He's done more than tricks. He got a trick where he got scissors and cut my tie."

Rodriguez said initially he wasn't sure what to expect when he first met Lore.

"He was introduced to me as the Walmart guy, which I thought was funny," Rodriguez said. "I was not expecting Marc to show up."

Rodriguez's voice took a different tone on the word "Marc," as if to underline it in an attempt to incorporate in one syllable what Lore is about — curious, enthusiastic, energetic and eager to please.

Rice and Rodriguez have been a part of championship teams, and they see in Lore someone who has the desire and willingness to do what it takes from an ownership perspective to get there.

"It's just personality," Rice said. "People gravitate toward him. He's just driven. He's daring to be great."

Added Rodriguez: "That's where our worlds come together. We're 1+1=3. My background in sports goes back over 25 years now, and his track record in doing this for over 20 years, it's something I think comes together."

After lunch in Las Vegas, Lore hopped in a black SUV, rang Rodriguez to inquire about the group's ticket allotment for a Bruno Mars concert that night and cleared up some confusion with a 30-second conversation. Soon, Lore was entering the Thomas and Mack Center to take in the Wolves' game against the Bucks.

He wanted to show his support, show players he's accessible — and maybe show them a few tricks along the way.


Howl Wolves!!
 

BleedGopher

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The Athletic: The Timberwolves’ lack of activity at power forward all seemingly points one way: Ben Simmons

Power forwards were crisscrossing the NBA last week, from the Midwest out to the Pacific Northwest and back again. There was one thing the players exchanged in a three-way deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers and Chicago Bulls all had in common besides their position: All three were connected at one time or another to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Derrick Jones Jr., a player the Wolves nearly landed in free agency before last season, went from Portland to Chicago. Larry Nance Jr., who the Wolves inquired about during the 2020 draft, went from Cleveland to Portland, and Lauri Markkanen, a player the Wolves had cursory discussions about targeting this summer, moved from the Bulls to the Cavaliers, who signed him to a four-year, $67 million contract as part of the sign-and-trade.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, watched it all happen from the sideline despite not having a prototypical power forward on their roster. That they did not get involved likely says something about the prices each team paid in that three-team trade. But it can’t just be that, can it? Gersson Rosas has made it known he wants to be aggressive in the trade market to upgrade a team that is entering a crucial season. Could it be that there is still a bigger target out there? Perhaps one so big, one that would theoretically fit so well with the core players on the Timberwolves, that Rosas dares not spend any of his limited assets on a lesser player in case he needs them for a deal that could really make an impact?

As the Ben Simmons situation simmers in Philadelphia, the Timberwolves are watching and, just maybe, waiting for it to boil over. This afternoon, a report emerged that perhaps it has.

When a player of Simmons’ caliber becomes available, as those around the league believe Simmons is right now, it can swing a team’s fortunes much more significantly than your garden-variety starter. The Timberwolves may not have what it takes to pry Simmons out of Philly. But as long as there remains a sliver of hope, it could outweigh what marginal improvement they could have expected by acquiring one of the three players moved last week, or any other number of veteran power forwards.

With all of the excitement that has transpired, and the Wolves’ lack of involvement in most of it, now is a good time to look at where the team’s power forward situation stands, why they didn’t get in on the musical chairs last week and the landscape around Simmons.


Howl Wolves!!
 




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