One thing to always keep in mind when dealing with the NBA Draft, especially around June: take every rumor with extreme caution.
To me, every rumor that leaks around this time of year is a strategic leak implemented by the team’s executives for one reason or another. Unless it’s something obvious (like the Wolves deciding they would be taking the tall gentleman pictured above), the rumor mill will always be heavy in June, but not always substantial. Not something you should take terribly seriously, especially depending on where the information is coming from (example: if you ever see me reporting something based on info from “sources”, don’t believe what is said).
With all that said, rumors are fun. So, during this period of virtual nonexistence for the Wolves, let’s look at some, shall we?
Wolves, Noah, have mutual interest?
Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News reported this a couple weeks ago, suggesting that the Wolves could see Noah as a semi-long-term replacement for Kevin Garnett, who’s 2016-17 season status is still unclear.
This only seems to make sense, both financially and basketball-wise if KG retires this summer. Yes, it’d be great to have both in theory; two leaders who have a strong sense of how to lead a defense from the interior would be fantastic. But Gorgui Dieng needs to play too, and with Karl-Anthony Towns being, well, Karl Anthony Towns, minutes at center aren’t going to be in high quantity.
Sure, Garnett has shown a tendency to stop playing basketball around mid-winter, but Thibs can’t go off that assumption.
If things work out and Noah is on the roster, I’m all for it. The thought of two bigs that can pass the ball the way Noah and KAT can, along with Rubio running the point makes me excited offensively. He’s not the stretch 4 that people might want, but the stretch big role may already be filled out by Towns.
Defensively, Noah has proven himself. Keep in mind, he won Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, and finished 4th in MVP voting. FOURTH. THREE YEARS AGO.
This is not to suggest that he’ll be that player again. Since his fantastic 2013-14 season, injuries have hit him from time to time. But for the right price, I strongly believe that Noah is still a perfect addition.
Jimmy Butler trade rumors?
And I think would too. If the Wolves traded Zach LaVine, Gorgui Dieng, and the fifth pick for Jimmy Butler (and maybe Taj Gibson???), I’m all for it. LaVine would be tough to lose, but Butler is probably better right now than Zach LaVine will ever be. And while Butler isn’t a young pup anymore, he’s still just 26. In a perfect, injury free world, there’s plenty of room to grow and plenty of time left in his prime.
Of course, the big risk here is that if the Wolves trade LaVine to Chicago, he will then rise to superstardom and make the new Wolves regime look like fools. And it’s not impossible that LaVine could at some point get to that level. In addition, the idea of a shooting backcourt of Rubio, Butler and Wiggins is not very appealing to me. In certain ways, it would be great, but those three point percentages would be ugly.
Ultimately, I have my doubts this trade ever happens. Sean Highkin at Bleacher Report did a good job explaining the poor odds of this trade ever occurring, Boston and their desire to shop the third pick being the main reason why.
Kris Dunn wants to play for Minnesota? (and some Ricky Rubio ramblings)
I have a rule for myself. I don’t buy into any draft day rumors. Teams and players are always posturing, and everything that gets out to the media before the draft never seems to actually happen. For this reason, I don’t believe this report. I believe the reporter was told this, but I have my doubts of the source’s motives.
But let’s pretend this one is true.
On one hand, it’s cool that there’s a prospect that really wants to come play in Minnesota. It’s cool that that is starting to happen again. And on top of that, Dunn is a good prospect with lots of potential to be a star point guard one day. He’s strong, physical, and defends well.
But his shooting isn’t great, and for what it’s worth (not much, in my opinion), he’s already 22 years old.
Of course, with talk that the Wolves could take a point guard in this year’s draft, Ricky Rubio trade talks have come up again. Although, rumblings started even before that.
I hope this isn’t true. Rubio is on a wonderful contract and is a very, very good point guard. Maybe even one of the 10 best in the NBA. Thibs, give Rubio a week of practices, and all your previous thoughts on him will be erased. I promise. Don’t do it, Thibs.
The issue here is that if he doesn’t like Rubio because of his shooting, he probably doesn’t like Dunn for the same reasons. Asch’s tweet makes me think the Wolves won’t be taking Dunn next week. But it also makes me nervous.
For now, I will remain very doubtful that Rubio will be anywhere but Minnesota in October, but these aren’t the same faces Wolves fans have been used to seeing the past several years. This is a new crew. The country club is over. Things are going to change.
Soon enough, we’ll find out if these rumors have any truth to them.