This NBA season simply could not be going as planned for your Minnesota Timberwolves. First year General Manager Gersson Rosas probably had slightly different ideas than a 15-35 club, the 6th worst in the league. He probably was hoping to not have two different losing streaks of 10 or more games, while currently being on a 13 game losing streak.
However, Rosas is here for the long haul, and that was proven on Tuesday night when the Timberwolves began to make some moves.
After tons of rumors and possibilities being floated around, Minnesota was able to partake in a huge 4-team trade, involving the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and the Atlanta Hawks. In total, 12 players will be changing teams, the most since the 2000 blockbuster where Sonic legend Patrick Ewing was traded to the Seattle Sonics.
As far as the Wolves are concerned, they traded away: Robert Covington, Jordan Bell, Shabazz Napier, Keita Bates-Diop and Noah Vonleh to various teams. They are receiving: Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Evan Turner, Jarred Vanderbilt and a 1st Round Pick from the Brooklyn Nets.
The trade that mattered much more to the Timberwolves, and one that will determine the fate of Minnesota for the next 5 years happened just yesterday afternoon.
The Minnesota Timberwolves traded former first overall pick Andrew Wiggins, a player whose time on the court has been confusing and underwhelming, along with a 2021 first round pick and 2022 second round pick to the Warriors for D’Angelo Russell.
These trades did a couple things for the Timberwolves as GM Rosas looks to build for the future. First, the Wolves did a decent job of opening up their books for next year. Between Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, the Wolves have over 50% of their cap tied up.
Next year, however, if the Wolves choose to do so, they can let Beasley, Hernangomez, Turner and Allen Crabbe walk, putting them about $21 million below the cap. This would help provide Rosas with some flexibility to start creating the team that he wants to create around centerpieces Towns and Russell.
Second, it provides Towns with a piece in Russell that they believe can lead to consistent playoff appearances. The tandem of Russell and Towns makes much more sense as a duo and D’Angelo is simply far more talented than Wiggins.
I will say that Russell and Towns are two of the worst defensive players in the entire NBA and together they could be historically awful. However, it is impossible to deny the excitement and intrigue of pairing the 1st and 2nd overall picks from the 2015 draft.
This season up to this point has been one to throw away and ignore. However, with these new trades, I am definitely interested to see how the new players gel together. I am specifically excited to see how Towns and Russel work together on offense and how Rosas will continue to mold this team.
There is still a long way to go before this franchise is completely turned around and there will be a lot of work to do over the summer. But I am cautiously optimistic that things are finally heading in the right direction. When has that ever burned Minnesota fans before?