Although the Timberwolves were encouraged by last season’s success, there was an “internal overwhelming feeling” that the team would hit a wall before becoming a legitimate title contender if it didn’t make at least one more major upgrade, 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 player in the NBA who could address so many of the club’s weaknesses and be available for the package Minnesota was willing to provide.
The Timberwolves expect Gobert to make life easier for his new teammates, allowing them to bet more on defending and giving. D’Angelo Russell a pick-and-roll partner who puts in good screens and can be a lob threat.
The 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 did, and Karl-Anthony TownsThe ability to shoot outdoors complements Gobert’s inside game, Krawczynski notes.
Here’s more about the Wolves and their roster stir:
- Sources tell Krawczynski that Gobert was excited about playing with the Timberwolves and that Towns was especially supportive of the move.
- According to Krawczynski, Wolves sources throughout the process were pessimistic that an agreement would actually be reached, and a deal appeared “in jeopardy” as of Friday morning. Minnesota was willing to shift its focus to other goals such as: Myles Turner or Clint Capela before the Gobert talks regained traction later on Friday when Utah agreed to make a deal without McDaniels.
- Before making a deal for Gobert, the Wolves made “several phone calls” to the nets about 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 in the mix for Dejounte Murray and could have outbid the Hawks for him, but the fact that they didn’t show they valued Gobert more, Krawczynski notes.
- Chris Hine of The Star Tribune takes a closer look at the impact the Gobert acquisition will have on the Wolves, both offensively and defensively, as well as from a salary cap perspective.