All Things 2021 Minnesota Timberwolves Off-Season Thread

Ogee Oglethorpe

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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!!
I meant to post something last night when I saw this. Some interesting points Jon makes here.

Jon sure does one helluva job covering the Wolves for The Athletic. Wolves fans are lucky to have him, it's too bad the team/organization has stunk for so long.
 


TruthSeeker

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Edwards grew 2 inches. Those inches alone could push his game to another level.

That's just nuts.
 




JimmyJamesMD

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I'm really banking on the wolves to trade D'Lo for Simmons
 






Bob_Loblaw

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That'd be a dream and a massive steal. Give them D'Lo, a couple of the young guys and a pick or two.
I really don't think that's the potential move. I don't think Philly has any interest in paying DLo that kind of money. I think if a deal is made for Simmons it will revolve around cap space, Jaden McDaniels and a bevy of picks.

I'm not saying this is enough to do it, but I think the deal would be: Malik Beasley, Jaden McDaniels, T. Prince, 2 first round picks, 2 swaps.

McDaniels is about the equivalent of a lottery pick from last year (think Kuminga). The Wolves could have swapped him to get into the late/mid lottery this year. I think, with his salary, he actually has more value than DLo.

Beasley is a salary filler and another shooter around Embiid. He is actually a shooter on an awesome contract. He is getting paid a lot less than Duncan Robinson, Doug McDermott and all the other shooters who have gotten paid recently.

Prince is an expiring who can log some minutes at the 4. He can shoot a bit too.

Now - I'm not saying that this is a fair trade for Simmons. It's not. I'm saying I think this trade has more value than a trade centered around DLo (on his deal). It only adds pieces that are on good deals and can help them win. If I'm the Timberwolves, I'd WAY rather get rid of DLo than McDaniels. I think Philly will think the same.

The question is, how much does Philly feel they have to move Simmons.
 



BleedGopher

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Everything Timberwolves fans should know about the Ben Simmons situation

When is @GerssonRosas and @EthanCasson planning to have @BenSimmons25 press conference at Target Center? — @jnguyen2015

You think Ben Simmons will be with Wolves by training camp? — @RandomClippers


Let’s just get this out there right now, and we will go deeper later in this mailbag: The Timberwolves still have a steep hill to climb to make a deal like this happen. There’s not a great matchup of assets for a team that doesn’t want to part with its core players (Towns, Edwards and Russell) and a team that needs veterans who can help them keep their title-contending window open with Embiid in his prime.

To this point, it appears the feeding frenzy that the Sixers would have hoped for to create a bidding war has not quite materialized. That can all change, but the market is soft for Simmons right now. The Wolves really want him, so that makes their pursuit — ideally, with a third team involved — worth examining and taking seriously. If a deal were to happen, I do not see it coming before training camp begins.

Morey will drive a hard bargain and probably test Simmons’ threat to not show up. If he does not have a great offer to accept right now, he can afford to wait for a little while, at least. So I would guess that Simmons will still be on the Philly roster when camp opens. Then it becomes a matter of how patient the Sixers can be to try to generate more of a market for him.

Which one is more likely, Sixers trading Ben before training camp, or Sixers trading Ben after the start of the regular season like Harden last year?
— @teronaz


I think it is more likely that Simmons gets moved after the season starts than before training camp. Most teams try to claw back leverage by creating the perception that they are willing to ride things out with their disgruntled star. As it did in the case of Harden in Houston and Butler in Minnesota, they run the risk of actually losing leverage because once the season begins teams, players, organizations can reach a breaking point pretty quickly when the games start to count and the dysfunction is leading SportsCenter on a nightly basis. That doesn’t mean the Sixers will. But we have seen that happen in the past.

As stated above, Morey has a reputation for a strong stomach when it comes to those kinds of issues. This situation figures to be another test for him on that front.

In a recent pod with Doogie, (ESPN’s Brian) Windhorst said he doesn’t think Wolves have the assets to get Simmons if they are holding onto KAT/Ant. With the current roster, he thinks they don’t have enough talent to make the playoffs. Do you think the current roster can make the playoffs? — @TheWileECoyote

Under normal circumstances, I agree with Brian that the Wolves would not have the assets to land Simmons without parting with KAT or Ant. I think what the Wolves have to hope for is that these circumstances get as abnormal as possible in the coming weeks. Our Sam Amick reported that the Kings see the asking price as too steep right now. Our Anthony Slater says the Warriors are not currently in the mix. Portland will not be giving up Damian Lillard anytime soon and the same goes for the Washington Wizards and Bradley Beal.

Maybe the Blazers do ante up with a C.J. McCollum-led package. Maybe San Antonio or Toronto make a run. But if the market stays dry, that gives the Wolves a chance. And a couple of unprotected Timberwolves picks, while not helping Morey immediately, could be a nice carrot to dangle for a stepping-stone move that would give Morey a bigger treasure chest of assets to deploy should Lillard or Beal eventually ask for a trade.

As for the current roster, well, there’s a reason the Wolves are so interested in Simmons. They know they need more talent to compete in the West. That said, I’m of the belief that if Towns, Edwards and Russell stay healthy, they should absolutely be in the playoff conversation. Does that mean they are a four seed? No way. But that core with Jaden McDaniels, Patrick Beverley and Malik Beasley should be good enough to be in the running for the Play-In Tournament.

With the roster essentially set and being very similar to last season, why would anyone expect this team to make the playoffs? Can Finch unleash unknown D talent out of the top players? How can this team get better on D? Why should I believe they can get better on D? — @Just4FunSB

After years of defensive issues. What philosophical change is the Finch staff looking to implement in order to improve? — @JesseHunt45


Adding a 6-foot-10 pterodactyl who was named the league’s best defensive player in an anonymous poll of NBA coaches would be a nice philosophical change, wouldn’t it? In all seriousness, though, the Wolves have been terrible on defense for a long, long time. So when people ask me, “Why are the Wolves interested in a player who won’t shoot and one that some fans in Philly can’t get rid of fast enough?” I say it’s because Simmons’ strengths as a defender and a transition player fit perfectly with what they want to do. There is a belief that they have enough offensive firepower that they wouldn’t have to put that much pressure on Simmons to create in the fourth quarter, so it is viewed as an ideal match.

Absent of Simmons, Finch recently hired Elston Turner, a respected veteran assistant coach to be the team’s defensive coordinator. Turner spoke with the media on Monday and said he is still getting up to speed with the roster, so firm plans for a defensive system have not been fully established. But he said the priorities will be to improve the rebounding, which was near the bottom of the league, and get back in transition. Much like Joseph Blair, who departed for Washington before summer league, Turner seems to want to put a heavy emphasis on effort and communication to mitigate the individual shortcomings on defense.

“If you’re able to move, you should be able to be in position defensively. It’s all about movement and communication,” Turner said. “I see how well, when players have the opportunity to score two points, they burn rubber down the floor. So I know they can run, man. I know they can move. And movement is the key to playing D.”

What realistically do Timberwolves end up giving away for Simmons if anything? — @Menyea3

We’ve reported that Edwards and Towns are off the table. I also believe Rosas wants to keep Russell, and there are questions about whether Philly would be interested in a Russell-centered package in the first place. What is important to remember is that these are negotiations. Morey might be saying he needs Edwards or there’s no deal right now. Maybe Rosas is saying, “I’m not trading you KAT, Ant, Russell or McDaniels.” That’s how these positions are staked early. Remember above with Thibs asking for Embiid and Simmons for Butler.

Those things can change over time. As high as the Wolves, and fans, are on McDaniels, he is one of the team’s most attractive players. If you want to land a star, you’ve got to spend money to make money. Beasley would seem to be a great fit with Embiid as a floor-spacer. Beverley’s defense and his playoff experience could be attractive, in addition to the money on his deal to help make it work. Taurean Prince could be used on that front as well.

The most viable scenario for the Wolves making a deal work is to find a third team to direct more of what Morey wants to Philadelphia. And that is where the draft pick compensation comes in. An unprotected Timberwolves first-rounder carries a heck of a lot more weight than, say, one from San Antonio. That is true for Philly, who could use those picks to try to pry a real star away from a playoff team that shifts into rebuild or for another team that is looking for a reason to jump in and facilitate the deal.

Will any of that blow Philly away? No. It doesn’t seem like there is a “Harden-like” package out there for Simmons. So the Wolves’ best hope is that the market remains cool, the temperature in Philly gets hotter and their offers look better over time.

Getting a third team involved is a very complex and delicate process. That’s why all of the discussion revolving around Simmons to Minnesota has to be colored with that context. Finding a third partner, or finding a way to make a straight-up trade with Philly will be exceedingly difficult. But the Wolves are motivated, just as they were with Russell and Golden State. That’s why it can’t be ignored or dismissed.


Howl Wolves!!
 



BleedGopher

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Patrick Beverley says he's expecting playoffs with Timberwolves​


atrick Beverley has made the playoffs every season he has played in the NBA.

"And I don't expect that to change," Beverley said Wednesday as he was introduced as one of the newest Timberwolves, a team that has made the playoffs once since 2004.

Beverley, 33, will enter the season as the elder statesman on the Wolves and the player charged with helping change the dynamics of the Wolves' woeful defense — the entity that poses the biggest threat to Beverley's playoff streak. A few years before Beverley, Jeff Teague had made the playoffs every season in his career. That came to an end in Minnesota.

"My biggest focus is seeing how locked in we can be each and every night consistently, over a preseason, a season and eventually if we're doing the right things getting to the playoffs," Beverley said. "Basketball is basketball. That won't change. But everything else in the middle, I think you can control that to put yourself in a position to win a lot of games."


Howl Wolves!!
 

kg21

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Less than two weeks until they start camp. It's unreal how soon it gets here.
 

Iceland12

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The Timberwolves tied up one of their last official bits of business before training camp starts later this month in officially signing Argentinian guard Leandro Bolmaro.

Bolmaro was the 23rd overall pick in the 2020 draft and will be on a rookie scale deal with team options after the first two years. The Wolves are projected to be around $900,000 below the luxury tax after signing Bolmaro.

Bolmaro, 21, played in Spain last season and for Argentina during the Olympics. Coach Chris Finch said recently Bolmaro has a chance to compete for playing time this season because of his competitiveness

 





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Morey doesn't cave.
I don't see this being positive for anyone except the Wolves in they are able to make a deal. Morey won't budge until they start losing some games they would normally win.
 

Iceland12

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Towns and Russell are losers. They aren't doing anything but losing and slowing Edwards development.

Towns- Don't think we can know that yet. He's been a 2-time All Star but yes, he's only made the playoffs once in his 6 years here. That said his supporting cast has been pretty bad except for the one season. It's been a long, long time when a Center has been able to carry a team to the playoffs himself.

Russell? More skeptical here. Yes he's had 3 good years out of 6 but only a single great one. Think he's only played on a over .500 team just once. There you could be right.

The glimmer of hope? Last year with all their problems the Wolves dealt with, they were 13-11 when they played together with Edwards.

The "blow it up and start over" argument? Unless someone is hoping/cheering for the Wolves to move to Seattle that won't work either.
 

Iceland12

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Far too many rumors out there that Simmons and his agent will only go to a West Coast team. Not sure is Sacramento or Seattle would qualify for that either. 😊
 

JimmyJamesMD

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Towns- Don't think we can know that yet. He's been a 2-time All Star but yes, he's only made the playoffs once in his 6 years here. That said his supporting cast has been pretty bad except for the one season. It's been a long, long time when a Center has been able to carry a team to the playoffs himself.

Russell? More skeptical here. Yes he's had 3 good years out of 6 but only a single great one. Think he's only played on a over .500 team just once. There you could be right.

The glimmer of hope? Last year with all their problems the Wolves dealt with, they were 13-11 when they played together with Edwards.

The "blow it up and start over" argument? Unless someone is hoping/cheering for the Wolves to move to Seattle that won't work either.
If Butler ain't on that squad, they ain't making playoffs. So Towns should be an 0-fer. Disappointing that Towns learned nothing from that season. He's only learned how to get into the Kardashian Circle of Love
 

TruthSeeker

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If Butler ain't on that squad, they ain't making playoffs. So Towns should be an 0-fer. Disappointing that Towns learned nothing from that season. He's only learned how to get into the Kardashian Circle of Love
Really? Yuck.
 

Iceland12

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If Butler ain't on that squad, they ain't making playoffs. So Towns should be an 0-fer. Disappointing that Towns learned nothing from that season. He's only learned how to get into the Kardashian Circle of Love

Sorry, never watched the Kardashians.

As for Butler he got them there. Then tore the team up for the next season. Maybe 2 seasons. Thibs traded Zach LaVine, Dunn and 7th Rounder that became Lauri Markkanen to get him. Then Thibs the worst NBA GM since Bill Musselman, and Butler brought in the 2015 Chicago Bulls. Who all left over the next couple of years.

Would Towns, LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Beasley and Wiggins been able to win over 40 games in '19 and over 48 this season? Don't know but probably.
 








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