Although the timber wolves were encouraged by last season’s success there was an ‘overwhelming feeling internally’ that the team would hit a wall before becoming a legitimate title contender if they didn’t make at least one more upgrade major, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.
That line of thinking was the motivation behind the team’s blockbuster trade deal for three-time Defensive Player of the Year. Rudy Gobert. As Krawczynski explains, the front office struggled to identify another NBA player who could address so many of the club’s weaknesses and who would be available for the package Minnesota was prepared to offer.
The Timberwolves expect Gobert to make life easier for his new teammates, allowing them to take more bets on defense and give D’Angelo Russel a pick-and-roll partner who sets good screens and can be a lob threat.
Wolves also believe they can make Gobert’s life easier – Minnesota has stronger perimeter defenders (Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Kyle Anderson, Taurus Prince) than Utah, and Karl Anthony TownsThe ability to shoot outside will complement Gobert’s inside game, Krawczynski notes.
Here’s more on Wolves and their roster shake-up:
- Sources tell Krawczynski that Gobert expressed excitement about playing with the Timberwolves and that Towns was particularly supportive of the move.
- According to Krawczynski, Wolves sources were pessimistic throughout the process about reaching a deal, and a deal appeared to be “in jeopardy” on Friday morning. Minnesota was ready to focus on other targets like Myles Turner Where Clint Capela before Gobert talks picked up steam later Friday, when Utah agreed to reach a deal without including McDaniels.
- Before agreeing a deal for Gobert, Wolves made “several calls” to the Nets on Kevin Durant, sources tell Krawczynski. However, Minnesota was unwilling to give up Edwards or Towns for Durant, so those talks didn’t go far.
- The Timberwolves were also there for Delete Murray and could have outbid the Hawks for him, but the fact that they didn’t shows they valued Gobert more, Krawczynski observes.
- The Star Tribune’s Chris Hine takes a closer look at the impact the acquisition of Gobert will have on Wolves both offensively and defensively, as well as from a salary cap perspective.