Now that Gersson Rosas has pulled the trigger on the Timberwolves’ first trade of the 2020s decade, let’s take a look back at the five best trades of the 2010s decade.
As Minnesota Timberwolves fans look back at the 2010s, the only way to handle the truth of the decade is to laugh.
Many of us were blessed to grow up watching Kevin Garnett dominate fools at the peak of his powers, Sam Cassell flourish in his lone All-Star season, Latrell Sprewell define the term “volume shooter” and Wally Szczerbiak shoot the lights out.
And after a few years, the Celtics had laid claim to two Wolves centerpieces, Cassell (and a first-round pick that would become Austin Rivers seven years later) was traded for Marko Jaric, and Sprewell had famously turned down the Wolves’ three-year, $21 million offer by declaring “I’ve got my family to feed.”
Devoid of the stars that created a promising start to the 2000s, the decade ended with an expected whimper, as the Wolves turned in seasons with records of 22-60, 24-58, and 15-67 in 2007-08, 2008-09, and 2009-10, respectively, which was a dark foreshadowing of what was ahead for the Wolves faithful.
Enter David Kahn. Here are a few highlights:
- His first draft as the the president of the Wolves? With his first pick in 2009, he understandably took Spanish sensation, our beloved Ricky Rubio. While his shot never fully developed in Minnesota, he made his way into our hearts forever.
- His second move in that 2009 draft? Infamously drafting Jonny Flynn one pick later, just one slot ahead of the point guard who scouts ironically thought would have an injury-shortened career, Steph Curry.
- To make things better, Kahn amazingly declined to offer Kevin Love a five-year rookie scale max extension in 2012. Love was on the record as stating he wanted said extension. Instead, Kahn offered K-Love a three-year deal with a player option for a fourth year, which eventually led to Love wanting out and being traded for Andrew Wiggins.
- He gave an unreal four-part exit interview with then Star Tribune Timberwolves beat writer Jerry Zgoda that was filled with hilarious gems about his tenure at the helm of the Wolves. I highly recommend it for those looking for a good (or not so good) laugh about his time in the Minnesota. (One | Two | Three | Four)
Some of my personal favorite quotes from the articles.
"Randolph, Dave Wohl (Wolves assistant coach at the time) was very high on him. Our background research was that he could develop into somebody with some star potential. Again the price point was very low.”"
Anthony Randolph’s career stats up to that point: 9.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 45.4 FG%, 2.0 stocks. He played in 57 games over two seasons for the Wolves.
Question: “How well positioned do you think you leave this team?”
"Highly well positioned. I think it’s a team that’s a force to be reckoned with the next seven to 10 years. Very few teams, when you think about it, have the star power contained in Ricky and Kevin. Pekovic is becoming a significant player at his position in the league. You have Kirilenko, Shved, Barea, Budinger, there’s a lot and I’m leaving people out. There’s just a lot of talent on the roster and it’s mostly young talent, mid 20s and under. I think the team is very well positioned to make a serious run these next several years."
One last one, about the Flynn pick:
"One can argue that the Trail Blazers in certain ways didn’t recover from the Jordan draft (in 1984). Our decision to take Jonny Flynn is not a decision we couldn’t recover from. … so the scouts had Flynn as the No. 1 point guard. And I had just emerged from several meetings where all they were saying to me was nobody ever listens to us and I like Jonny too, so please don’t mistake that. I could see a lot of the appeal and so to that extent, that’s the reason that pick was made."
My fantasy basketball commissioner so accurately assigns a group name to Timberwolves fans who suffered through the 2010s with so much hope and experienced let down after let down – the David Kahn Survivors’ Guild.
While the 2000s decade left us with very few trades we can look back on positively, the post-Kahn 2010s brought us far more trade fun and a handful of trades worth ranking as the best of the decade.
First, let’s start with some honorable mentions.