According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves are in the midst of shopping Chase Budinger. Several teams so far, according to Woj, have made their interest known, including the Houston Rockets and Detroit Pistons.
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Because it’s the preseason, and the actual storyline behind the game itself isn’t actually all that important, we’ll keep this recap short.
Despite some poor interior defense, and some equally questionable shot selection, the Timberwolves were able to pull away from the Sixers after a surge in the third quarter. Also, some veteran 4th quarter leadership and savvy from Mo Williams probably saved the Wolves’ bench from a collapse to end the game.
Remember the year the Timberwolves drafted 4 point guards in one year? Even though (#welltechnically) two of them were used as picks for another team in a trade that was already agreed to, while another stayed in Spain for two more years. Remember how, despite the insistence from anyone who looked at the roster, the “Wolves have a lot of point guards” narrative stuck around like a bad habit?
It’s funny, because you could argue that this year is the year the Wolves are stacked up on guards. In fact, not counting Kevin Martin, the starting shooting guard, you could say that every other backcourt player on this year’s team is a point guard.
That’s okay, though. As Flip Saunders said at media day, nobody on the roster, at this point, is all that redundant. Ricky Rubio is a passer. Mo Williams a shooter. Zach LaVine is an athletic combo guard. We still have training camp to figure out what the final roster will look like, but as of right now, the power of the point guard is strong in Minnesota.
The first true superstar to play for the Wolves was Kevin Garnett, a power forward. Eventually, he was traded for Al Jefferson, a power forward/center, who was eventually (and, arguably, unnecessarily) replaced by Kevin Love, a power forward. Heck, even Tom Gugliotta and Christian Laettner put up big numbers for the Wolves in the early-to-mid 90s.
Power forwards have led the Timberwolves for nearly the entire existence of the franchsie. Thaddeus Young has a chance to lead the team in scoring this year, but for the first time in nearly two decades, the current shape of the franchise does not revolve around the development of a promising young power forward.
With media day and training camp just two days away, and the first preseason game less than two weeks away, we finally have a (mostly) set roster. Now that the Timberwolves have announced the names off their official training camp roster, the first attempt at a post-Kevin Love era has more or less taken shape.
We start with the group big men that Kevin Love used to lead. Even with a haul as good as the one the Wolves got, replacing a frontcourt presence like Love can’t be done right away.
In short: Minnesota’s frontcourt won’t be as strong as it was a year ago. While the center position may actually be the deepest it has ever been, there are some big question marks, especially at power forward.
We still have some World Cup to go, but with Spain’s elimination on Wednesday, the presence of the Minnesota Timberwolves ended entirely. For the most part, it was a successful campaign for the Wolves-represented participants, with a good share of highlights to go around.
Let’s go down the list:
When a team trades its star, it isn’t uncommon for that team’s starting lineup to look completely different the following year. When Kevin Garnett was traded in 2007 to the Boston Celtics, the only starter that remained somewhat consistent in the same role the following season was Marko Jaric. Besides Al Jefferson, there was uncertainty surrounding who would be opening day starters in 2007-08. Craig Smith? Sebastian Telfair? Rashad McCants? Theo Ratliff? Ryan Gomes? Greg Buckner? Randy Foye?
Even Kirk Snyder started 18 games that year. Yeesh.
After Kevin Love was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, however, there was little doubt in what most of the starting lineup would look like. Once the trade went down, it was assumed that Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, Thaddeus Young and Kevin Martin would be starters from day one. Most teams who rid themselves of their star see a completely new starting 5. This team’s isn’t going to be all that big of a mystery. It’s the rest of the rotation that is so fascinating. And it starts with the final starting spot.
It’s finally official. Officially official. The frequently discussed deal to send Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers has finally been announced as an done deal.
Let’s look at the breakdown:
Minnesota receives: Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thaddeus Young, trade exception
Cleveland receives: Kevin Love
Philadelphia receives: Alexey Shved, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Miami’s (top 10 protected) 2015 first round pick
The deal has been discussed off and on for a number of months now, but was amplified when LeBron James made the decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers back in early July. After the LeBron announcement, rumors and speculation took off, especially since LeBron left Wiggins and Bennett’s names off of his announcement of guys he was ‘excited to play with’.
Talks with Cleveland were temporarily put on hold after Cleveland signed Wiggins to his rookie deal, due to a rule that makes it illegal to trade a rookie for 30 days after their first contract is signed. Still, reports came out during the waiting period that a handshake deal was in place.
Most saw this deal as the best of potential scenarios for the Wolves, but any trade involving a player like Kevin Love is going to have good stuff and bad stuff.
This Saturday, barring an unforeseen turn of events, Andrew Wiggins will be dealt as part of a pack to the Timberwolves, and Kevin Love will be shipped out to Cleveland to team up with LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and new head coach David “my life is awesome right now” Blatt.
Since the conclusion of draft night this past June, I’ve avoided covering the Kevin Love saga in detail (with the exception of Twitter). Part of it was because I wasn’t sure there was anything to say that hadn’t already been said. Also part of it: my disinterest in over-speculation. Another was my fear of jumping the gun on a deal that doesn’t necessarily end up happening.