A reconstructed Minnesota Timberwolves roster gives LeBron James the best opportunity to win an NBA title.
It has been a season to be forgotten for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Wolves sit five games below .500 and seven games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the final spot in the playoffs, and are all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.
The team regressed this year, mainly due to lethargic play and general boredom. Heading into the offseason, the Wolves need a jolt, something to excite fans for the 2019-20 season. And what other way to pack an arena than to trade for LeBron James.
James and the Los Angeles Lakers simply have not been a good marriage. He’s been cast with a bunch of misfit, ball-dominant players who don’t play any defense and can’t make open 3-pointers — which is exactly why the Lakers struggled and tried shipping the majority of their roster for Anthony Davis at the trade deadline.
James has also brought unnecessary drama to the City of Angels because it was assumed that he would return the Lakers to prominence, when instead exactly the opposite has happened and head coach Luke Walton will likely be fired as the Lakers have underwhelmed.
And as much as the NBA is a business, the game also requires mental toughness. Guys like Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram have not yet matured as pros, and their feelings might understandably be hurt that James tried to essentially sabotage their Lakers career. In short, it would beneficial for both parties to simply cut ties.
The Timberwolves franchise has been in the NBA for 30 years, have nine playoff appearances, and have never even played for a title. Let’s be real: if James were to bring a championship to the Twin Cities, that would be a greater accomplishment than winning in Cleveland.
Here’s how the trade goes down.
The Lakers will actually shed salary in this deal, so they would still be able to pursue a max-deal free agent during this offseason.
Wiggins needs a change of scenery and he’ll certainly get that opportunity playing under the bright lights in Los Angeles. Clearly, Wiggins still has plenty of upside remaining.
Plus, the Lakers get a pair of future starting wings with a lot of potential in Okogie and Bates-Diop. And with James gone, they can focus on building their roster for the future all at the same time.
With James leaving Los Angeles, he can focus on basketball and worry about his post-playing days when he’s actually retired. If he needs to film anything, Hollywood is only a flight away.
More importantly, James comes to a team that is ideal for his skill-set. He slides into either forward role and is immediately surrounded by catch-and-shoot 3-point shooters in Robert Covington and Dario Saric. Tyus Jones could be retained in the offseason and would take over the starting point guard role next season.
And then, of course, there’s Karl-Anthony Towns. When KAT isn’t hanging out on the perimeter, he can score in the paint, giving James the all-around inside presence and rim defender he’s sorely lacked throughout his career. Saric could play a role similar to Kevin Love‘s role in Cleveland as a stretch 4, and while he isn’t the rebounder that Love was, he can absolutely stretch the floor and still score in the post.
Over the past two years, Towns is shooting 41.4 percent on four 3-point attempts per game, and Covington has shot threes at a 37.2 percent clip on 6.7 attempts per game over the last couple of seasons. Even Derrick Rose, whom the Wolves would need to re-sign, would be a welcome playmaker off the bench alongside James.
Imagine opposing teams trying to decide how to guard both James and Towns on the floor together. This roster, which to this point has relied on dribble penetration and post entries to KAT, is perfectly fit for James’ style of play.
Provided that Minnesota surrounds LeBron with a few more shooters and perimeter defenders, this should be a marriage that works out perfectly.