When the Minnesota Timberwolves lost their first-round selection to the Golden State Warriors, it was only natural to feel deflated. A chance at getting a top-tier prospect in the top-3 quickly disappeared as the pick landed at No. 7 and went to the Warriors. The pick put a bow on the Andrew Wiggins trade. Ultimately, it was believed by a portion of the fanbase the trade was validated because Minnesota was able to acquire D’Angelo Russell and yield just Wiggins and that No. 7 pick.
With no draft picks and minimal cap room to work with this summer, it could be difficult for Gersson Rosas and the Wolves to shuffle pieces around. Fear not, though, for Rosas has a plan — and it’s a good one.
Rosas appeared on KFAN early Tuesday morning. When asked about a potential blueprint for the offseason, he didn’t shy away from addressing a plan of attack for the Wolves.
For us, trades are going to be the primary route for us to upgrade our roster, along with development, and that dips into free agency as well with signings and trades. We’re having a lot of conversations now. We’ve identified our needs, we’ve identified our options.
That’s music to the ears of most Timberwolves fans.
Minnesota is in a peculiar spot. At the macro level, you see a team that went 23-49, finished near the bottom of the Western Conference, and missed out on the postseason again.
Zoom in closer, though, and you’ll see a team that switched coaches during the year and slowly bought into their new leader’s message. A team riddled with injuries to key players that was nearly healthy at the end of the year finished 9-7 in their last 16 games. Most teams with a record 26 games below .500 don’t have their sights set on the playoffs, but that’s exactly what the goal should be for the Wolves.
Let’s not forget, the clock is ticking a bit on Rosas too. He was hired in 2019 and had his choice of a No. 1-overall pick (Anthony Edwards) and his preferred head coach (Chris Finch). The plan needs to start showing some signs of success soon. And lacking draft picks and cap space, the trade route is the way to go.
This could mean many things. But as Rosas says, trades will be the primary route for the Wolves to upgrade their roster. The conversations have already started.
A team with Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and a budding superstar in Anthony Edwards should be in the mix in the Western Conference with the right foundation around them. All three were healthy and on a vibe together at the end of the regular season; assuming they all stay healthy, they should come out with a bang next season.
But they need more. And perhaps that could mean dipping into future first-round picks and current players around the roster to acquire a star. Ben Simmons would take a lot. While Towns and Edwards seem untouchable, a trade for Simmons could mean Russell is sent out.
Other names floated around have included Kyle Lowry, Miles Bridges, and even Myles Turner. For the Wolves, any trade will likely include matching salaries, with players like Ricky Rubio, Jake Layman, and Josh Okogie thrown into the mix.
As odd as it sounds, though, this isn’t a bottom-dweller team that has a ton of time to sit around and figure things out. This offseason will be as critical as any in the last few years for Minnesota as they look to rise the Western Conference ranks. Towns, 25, is still young, but this will be his seventh season in the NBA. The same can be said for DLo, who’s entering his ninth season. These aren’t rookies who need their hands held any longer. It’s time to back up the hype with more wins.
Just because the Wolves have minimal cap flexibility and no draft picks doesn’t mean it will be a quiet summer. In fact, it should be the exact opposite. Whether it’s a big name like Ben Simmons or complementary pieces to put around Towns, Russell, and Edwards, Rosas and Co. will be very busy working the phones all summer long. It’s time for Minnesota to figure out what they have and what they need. The offseason will go a long way in determining all of that.