With the playoffs fading from view for the Minnesota Timberwolves, should the franchise begin to focus on draft position and adjusting for the future?
The NBA trade deadline came and went on Thursday, Feb. 7. As expected, the Minnesota Timberwolves were quiet.
The Wolves had a few one-year contracts that they could have moved for draft picks and maybe even a player. The front office decided against this mostly due to cap space next season.
Darren Wolfson reported that the Timberwolves received calls from the Raptors, among other teams, regarding Anthony Tolliver. In the end, however, general manager Scott Layden declined to make a move.
C.J. Miles has a player option for $8.7 million next year, and the Wolves no doubt didn’t want to commit salary for next season and only pick up a second-rounder in the process. Miles is a good player and the Wolves obviously need wing depth, but the Wolves calculated that dedicating money for 2019-20 was a bridge too far.
The team is going in the wrong direction this season, and after losing back to back games to teams that are already tanking, the current season feels much closer to being all but over.
At a record of 25-30, the Timberwolves are five games behind the No. 8 seed in the West. Anything is possible, of course; injuries to other teams and massive losing skids from the likes of the Lakers, Clippers, or Kings could always improve Minnesota’s chances. But it isn’t looking good.
The front office has so many questions entering the offseason. Should they try to retain Tyus Jones, who will be a restricted free agent this summer? Should they give the permanent head coaching job to current interim coach Ryan Saunders? Will owner Glen Taylor change-up his front office and cut ties with Layden, who was Tom Thibodeau’s pick?
With so many questions and limited cap space to work with, the Timberwolves must do something to keep pace in the Western Conference.
Luckily for Minnesota, they still have both of their draft picks in a stacked draft class. So, should the Wolves use the rest of the season to position themselves for a higher pick by tanking the rest of the way.
That’s a tough question to ask, of course. Everyone, from fans to players and coaches all want to make the playoffs. Nobody wants to lose at any level of competitive sports, and to ask a professional athlete to try to lose is impossible.
Even though it can be hard to accept, however, sometimes the best thing to do is set yourself up as a franchise for the future. The West is stacked, and with LeBron James running the show in LA, it’s safe to assume that more stars are headed out west.
The Timberwolves have one thing most teams that are rebuilding do not and that is a franchise player. Karl-Anthony Towns is the centerpiece for the franchise and the front office have to start to build around their superstar.
This summer will be vital to this franchise if they want to get back to the playoffs and some day become a contender, but they have to start the rebuilding process now.