You don’t need to go to a marriage counselor to discover how vital transparency and openness are to creating a healthy, long-lasting relationship. Now, I’m not here to rehash any of your failed affairs of the past. After all, this is an article about the Minnesota Timberwolves. When trying to build a championship contender in the NBA, it’s a lot like trying to find “the right one.” You need to have chemistry, the ability to work through tough times, and, most importantly – transparency.
“It was definitely something I wasn’t ready for,” said Karl-Anthony Towns in response to the Rudy Gobert trade on Podcast P with Paul George. “I remember being in London and getting that call, so I didn’t have any idea that was actually happening. I was told by social media like everybody else. So that was something.”
When the Timberwolves flipped five players and five picks for Rudy Gobert last summer, the move was a massive surprise to everyone around the team – players, coaches, and fans included. Gobert was aware of the move; he chose Minnesota as one of his preferred destinations. However, none of his future teammates became aware of the move until Adrian Wojnarowski’s tweet on July 1st at 2:37 p.m.
“I’m pretty happy with the changes,” said Anthony Edwards at Media Day when asked about the off-season moves. “I lost a couple of dudes who I was super close with. I’m ready to get back to winning, we are going to win a lot of games. We made some really good changes that will make a big impact this year.”
Edwards usually has a smile on his face, and he seemed eager to get to work with Gobert and his new-look team. However, if the Wolves hope to become a consistent contender in a loaded Western Conference, they can’t ambush their cornerstone players with any surprising moves.
In late April, Paul Peirce was on Kevin Garnett’s podcast, KG Certified, and offered his view on what Minnesota’s front office needs to change in the future.
This is the problem with management. This is the problem with ownership. They get these superstars, and they don’t understand how to build, and then they lose them. I see a couple of cases where you might lose a couple of superstars, I’m talking about players who are generational talents that you don’t capitalize off of. I’m seeing this kid, Edwards, he could be a generational talent to where he could be in the All-Star game for the next ten years. Them players don’t come along.
Towns. You got to build the right way around them. You got to have them in the room when you discussing these trades. You got to have them in these meetings in the summer, man. Just come out, ‘What you think of this?’ I’m sure they weren’t there when they made them trades. Like, you got to have them in the room, ‘you think these guys will fit around you?’ That’s what a partnership is all about. If you sign me to $200 million and you want to build around me, then why am I not in these meetings? Why don’t I have an opinion?
I rarely see eye-to-eye with Pierce. However, he got this right. To build a sustained winner, you need to have the guys you want to “build around” in those meetings and get their opinions. On the other hand, it’s a business, something that KG pointed out later in that podcast. Most of the time, front office personnel all have a business-first mindset.
Heading into this summer, it seems unlikely that a splashy move like the one we saw last July will occur. However, there are still some potential franchise-shifting decisions that Tim Connelly and Co. will have to make. I understand that, ultimately, this is a business. But if Connelly is truly committed to building a winner around Edwards and Towns, transparency between the two will be paramount.