Minnesota Timberwolves: Wolves should make pitch to Kevin Durant

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Jeff Teague #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Jeff Teague #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As far-fetched as it may seem, the Minnesota Timberwolves should make a serious sales pitch to pending free agent Kevin Durant.

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor needs to roll out the red carpet. Kevin Garnett needs to wear his recruiting hat. Mayor Jacob Frey needs to give him the key to the city.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins need to be present for a mock ceremony showing his No. 35 jersey hanging up in the rafters at the Target Center.

Put simply: the Timberwolves would offer Kevin Durant the chance to lead an organization and win now.

The Minnesota Timberwolves struggled mightily this year. They played careless basketball and looked disengaged during nationally televised games. If there is any team looking to turn the page on this season, it is the T-Wolves. But there is also a lesson to be learned from the team’s struggles, and that is mainly adding another scorer to the team.

Towns and, to a lesser extent Andrew Wiggins are going to carry the Wolves’ offense while complementary pieces Dario Saric and Robert Covington are going to be spot-up jump shooters.

Their scoring opportunities are based on KAT and Wiggins penetrating to the basket and finding them for open looks. However, only Towns and Wiggins can generate their own offense. The Wolves need to add another scorer while being able to find Saric, Covington and others for open shots at the 3-point line.

Enter Kevin Durant.

Much has been said about Durant leaving the Golden State Warriors at the conclusion of the season (and likely another title) for the bright lights of the Big Apple. Wolves fans should rejoice, because the New York Knicks are one of the worst run sports franchise in American sports.

The dysfunction of the Knicks is like the NBA version of Keeping Up With the Kardashians: lots of drama with never an end in sight. Even if the Knicks land the first-overall draft pick to win the Zion Williamson sweepstakes nor the aura of playing in Madison Square Garden make the Knicks a destination where players want to play.

This year’s Los Angeles Lakers present a cautionary tale for any general manager looking to build a team around a ball-dominant superstar. The Lakers decided to surround LeBron James with other ball-dominant pieces like Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and Lance Stephenson, thinking this approach would ease James’ workload as the season progressed. These signings were instead a disaster because whenever James would penetrate to the basket, his teammates could not make open jumpers.

The Wolves offer Durant the best opportunity to win now with his addition. Paired with franchise cornerstone Towns, a Durant-to-Minnesota deal makes sense because the current roster provides a complementary skill set best suited for Durant’s game.

This season, Durant finished with a 29 percent usage rate and, similar to James, Durant is a ball-dominant playmaker who draws a lot of double-teams. Covington (37.2 percent on 3-pointers), Saric (38.3 percent), and KAT (40 percent) can all spot up from long distance when Durant is double-teamed.

Durant finished the year averaging a career-high 5.8 assists per game and that number would certainly climb next year if he joins the Wolves. The majority of the offense would run through Durant, giving his teammates many open looks.

Durant-to-Minnesota makes sense because it gives Durant the opportunity to lead a franchise. With the Thunder, Russell Westbrook was already taking more shots than Durant. With the Warriors, Durant is playing second fiddle to Stephen Curry and sometimes even to mainstays Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

In Minnesota, Durant can start over. He’ll come in to the organization as the veteran presence, a voice the players will listen and learn from, and he gives the organization swagger and direction they have solely lacked. Durant is a league MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP, he is exactly the leader guys like KAT and Wiggins would want to have around so they can better their games.

Next. Wolves should pursue Dave Joerger. dark

Signing Durant would push the Wolves over the salary cap but would make them an instant contender. Whatever money they would have to pay in tax they would recoup by winning games and pushing the franchise to the top of the Western Conference.