Hello good friends, I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend.
I spent it with friends and family. Yesterday, we bought a new washer and dryer to take advantage of Labor Day sales at Home Depot, and I’m pretty sure that will go down as a top-five adult moment of my life. Big things happening over here in the Ratke household.
There hasn’t been much Minnesota Timberwolves news since we last talked. But in the bubble, crazy things are happening. The Milwaukee Bucks are on the verge of being eliminated. The Toronto Raptors came back from a 2-0 deficit. The Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets just might have a chance against the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers.
Let’s get into this week’s three topics:
The Timberwolves have the No. 1 and the No. 17 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft which is set for Oct. 16.
I would be shocked if the NBA didn’t push that date back.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has already reported that the league is leaning towards a pushback with the draft and free agency which makes perfect sense. The league wants to give teams, especially those still playing in Orlando, more time to assess their rosters before having to make decisions for next season — especially when we’re not sure what the salary cap will look like. The same goes for players who are about to become free agents.
In a process in which in-person workouts will be limited, the more time teams have to research, the better. That’s especially true for the Timberwolves, who are leaving all options open with both picks. It will also give more time for Gersson Rosas and his staff to assess restricted free agents Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez. We’ll learn quickly if Rosas thinks the two are starting-quality players depending on what offer he extends to the players or matches.
Could the Wolves Get Oladipo?
There’s been some Twitter chatter that Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo could be a potential fit for the Timberwolves via trade.
If the Wolves have to give up a No. 1 pick for this hypothetical Twitter trade, count me out.
Oladipo just recovered from a ruptured quad tendon and played in just 19 games this season.
He’s a very good player, and his improvement in the league has been remarkable to watch after a tough start. In Orlando he was asked to play point guard, and in Oklahoma City he was asked to survive beside Russell Westbrook. It turns out when you can play the position you were meant to play and you don’t have to play alongside an erratic player like Westbrook, things work out pretty well! Oladipo has flourished with the Pacers.
The thing is, Oladipo is already 28 years old. That’s not ancient by any means, but I’ve written a lot about timelines in my columns and with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell both being 24 years old, I’m not sure if this move makes sense. I could see it if the Wolves were an Oladipo away from being a serious contender, sure. But they aren’t. Getting Oladipo might get the Wolves to a playoff spot. Trading the first overall pick seems silly to guarantee yourself a seventh seed for a season or two.
Plus, next season will be a contract year for Oladipo. He’s set to make $21 million. The trade would have to look something like James Johnson, Jarrett Culver and the first-overall pick for Oladipo. That seems worth it for someone like Bradley Beal or Devin Booker. Not Oladipo.
Now, if you’re talking about the 17th pick instead of the first pick, I think you’re onto something here…
The NFL Season Will Be Important For NBA
The NFL kicks off the 2020 season on Thursday night with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans.
After months of having no sports, we’re suddenly spoiled with the NFL, the NBA playoffs, the WNBA bubble and MLB pennant races.
While the NBA is in the midst of the playoffs, you better believe they’ll be keeping an eye on the NFL season while it plans for the 2020-21 season. The NFL doesn’t have a bubble, so it’s on the players to be safe. We saw how problematic that can be in the MLB, but baseball is still being played. It feels like the NFL is prepared to play through anything, but we’ll learn more about the COVID protocols as situations materialize.
It seems impossible the NBA will play in a bubble during the 2020-21 season, which will probably start sometime in January-February. Getting the players to sign on for 60-plus games in a bubble will be tough. Instead, they will likely travel to different arenas with limited to no fans. The NFL has an advantage with larger rosters. What will the NBA put in place if multiple players on a team test positive?
These are all conversations that are happening right now. The winter isn’t expected to be very kind when it comes to COVID.
The NBA has a lot to plan for next season. How will the salary cap look? How will teams be impacted from no ticket sales? When will the season start?
And most importantly, how will it keep its players safe?