With D’Angelo Russell, the Minnesota Timberwolves aimed for the big coup in summer 2019. The Point Guard ended up with the Warriors, Minnesota went away empty-handed. Instead of a spirit of optimism, sobriety spreads in the far north.
Minnesota Timberwolves: The Transactions
The Timberwolves presented the most important new addition on May 1: Gersson Rosas took over the role of President of Basketball Operations and thus the reins in the front office after the era Tom Thibodeau came to an abrupt end last season.
To start the new job, Rosas obviously wanted to set off a blast. Shortly before the official launch of the Free Agency, the Timberwolves were considered a favorite of D’Angelo Russell. When it became clear that Kyrie Irving would replace the point guard at the Nets, the Wolves fans were already preparing a bottle or two of champagne – but the Warriors put Rosas through the drain.
By sign-and-trade, D-Lo switched to the Bay Area instead of to the far north. Despite the disappointment, Minnesota snuck into the deal and secured the services of Shabazz Napier and Treveon Graham from the Nets instead of the main prize. Subsequently, Rosas made several smaller deals to address the depth of the team.
For example, Noah Vonleh (1 year, $ 2 million) and Jordan Bell (1 year, $ 1.6 million) signed short-term contracts; Jake Layman was committed for three years and $ 11.3 million. Not too big names, he came in the draft a few weeks earlier.
Rosas converted her own pick per trade with the Suns into the 6th pick to secure Texas Tech Guard Jarrett Culver. In return, Minnesota had to drop Dario Saric and the 11th pick (Cameron Johnson) towards Phoenix. In addition to Saric, Taj Gibson (Knicks), Derrick Rose (Pistons), Anthony Tolliver (Blazers) and Tyus Jones (Grizzlies) also left the franchise in the summer.
Minnesota Timberwolves: the most important dates 2018/19
|Balance Regular Season||Offensive rating||Defensive rating||Net rating|
|36-46 (11th place in the west)||110.6 (13.)||112.2 (24.)||-1.6 (23.)|
Minnesota Timberwolves: The Strategy
Rosas aggressively went to his first free agency with the Timberwolves. The goal was clear: A star was to be found who, alongside franchise player Karl-Anthony Towns, should lead the team into what is hopefully a glorious future.
Russell appeared as a point guard with proven scoring skills and, not to forget, a good friend of the center as the perfect piece of the puzzle, so his commitment was a top priority.
After the basket of the 23-year-old, the Wolves fans had to settle for less glamorous role players. However, the Timberwolves were keen not to sacrifice any financial scope for the future with the new commitments.
Jeff Teague’s contract, which will receive $ 19 million in 2019/20, will expire next summer. The free agency market is then manageable and it will take a while for Gorgui Dieng’s contract (2 years, $ 33.5 million) to be deleted from the books. Not to mention Andrew Wiggins
The Minnesota Timberwolves squad
|Point guard||Shooting guard||Small forward||Power forward||center|
|Jeff Teague||Josh Okogie||Andrew Wiggins||Robert Covington||Karl-Anthony Towns|
|Shabazz Napier||Jarrett Culver||Jake Layman||Noah Vonleh||Gorgui Dieng|
|Treveon Graham||Keita Bates-Diop||Naz Reid||Jordan Bell|
Minnesota Timberwolves: The weak points
A good two years ago, Wiggins received an early contract extension for five years and $ 147.8 million, which the 2014 No. 1 pick gratefully accepted. However, the Timberwolves were far from happy with this deal.
Wiggins has so far been unable to justify his enormous salary, but will remain tied to the franchise until 2023. In the offseason speculation about a possible trade was circulating, Minnesota would probably have to give up some additional assets in a potential deal. For a star in return, Minnesota would have pulled the Wiggins ripcord. But now it seems most likely that the franchise will have its former hope for a few more years.
That’s why Minnesota didn’t have many options left in the Free Agency. The new ones provide depth, whether they really make the team better compared to the graduates Rose, Gibson and Co., but is questionable. In terms of shooting, there should still be a shortage, there are also holes in the defense.
Minnesota Timberwolves: The beacon of hope
For a long time, Wiggins and Towns were considered a promising duo, but hopes now rest almost exclusively on KAT. Nobody really seems to believe that Wiggins can change his career in Minnesota again.
In the person of Towns, the Wolves have one of the best Big Man in the league on the team. Towns has not been as dominant in the past two years as it was at the beginning of his career (it was not for nothing that the 30 general managers voted him the best center in the league in 2017), but since Ryan Saunders was taken over as interim coach, he has been tweaking his statistics and his Efficiency back up.
In summer, the Timberwolves deleted the first part of Saunder’s job title and made the only 33-year-old the “real” head coach. It should help to let Towns’ talent unfold completely. Saunders will have a similar task at Culver. The 20-year-old is considered a variable scorer who can do a little bit of everything. In the long term, it could become the second option alongside KAT.
Minnesota Timberwolves: The conclusion
The Timberwolves need another star alongside Towns to make the most of the upcoming 23-year-old’s prime. Wiggins cannot fill this role, Russell obviously did not want it – the basket of the new Warriors star was painful.
Instead of a mood of optimism, sobriety in Minnesota spread in the offseason. In the highly competitive West, where many teams have improved over the summer, the Wolves failed to do just that. Team President Rosas avoided gross mistakes, but he did not succeed in the longed-for home run.
The grade: 4