Although the wood wolves Emboldened by last season’s success, there was an “overwhelming internal feeling” that unless the team made at least one more major improvement, the team would hit a wall before becoming a legitimate title contender, writes The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski.
This train of thought was the motivation behind the team’s blockbuster trade agreement for three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. As Krawczynski explains, the front office struggled to find another player in the NBA who could fix so many of the club’s weaknesses and be available for the package Minnesota was willing to offer.
The Timberwolves expect Gobert will make life easier for his new teammates by allowing them to focus more on defense and giving D’Angelo Russell a pick and roll partner that sets good screens and can be a lob threat.
Wolves also believe they can make Gobert’s life easier — Minnesota have stronger full-backs (Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Kyle Anderson, bull prince) as Utah did, and Karl-Anthony-Cities‘ Ability to take outside shots will complement Gobert’s inside game, notes Krawczynski.
Here’s more on Wolves and their roster changeover:
- Sources tell Krawczynski that Gobert has expressed excitement at playing with the Timberwolves and that Towns has been particularly supportive of the move.
- According to Krawczynski, Wolves’ sources were pessimistic throughout the process that a deal 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 Gobert talks picked up steam again later on Friday when Utah agreed to complete a deal without McDaniels.
- Before finalizing a deal for Gobert, the Wolves made “several calls” to the nets around Kevin Durant, sources say Krawczynski. However, Minnesota was unwilling to give up Edwards or Towns for Durant, so those talks didn’t go far.
- The Timberwolves were there too Dejount Murray and could have outbid the Hawks for him, but the fact 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.