The Minnesota Timberwolves' new president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas clothed himself in glory with two incredible trade deadline deals.
Minnesota Timberwolves fans were excited about their new leadership pairing of Gersson Rosas and Ryan Saunders as they preached about using analytics, building a player-friendly culture, and other innovative aspects of team-building to finally construct a consistent winner up north.
That enthusiasm was backed up by a solid offseason of work from Rosas considering he wasn't left with many assets or cap room from the Tom Thibodeau era.
While the jury is still out on the Jarrett Culver selection, Rosas went out and signed a number of solid free agents to affordable deals, and he picked up a potential rotation player in Naz Reid who went undrafted.
The tune on Rosas, and more specifically Saunders, started to sour as the Wolves lost their twelfth game in a row on Wednesday at home to the lowly Atlanta Hawks.
When all seemed dead as Shams Charania reported that Rosas and the Wolves' front office were unwilling to meet the Warriors' demands for Russell, he pulled out one of the greatest trades in franchise history.
In the deal, the Wolves accomplished just about everything you could ask for:
- They got their point guard of the future, who just so happens to be best friends with their disgruntled star player.
- They offloaded Andrew Wiggins' contract that was going to be an albatross on the organization until the summer of 2023.
- They were able to put a top-three protection on the 2020 first-round pick they sent to Golden State in case disaster strikes, or the Wolves get lucky in the lottery next season.
- They acquired two potential rotation players along with Russell in Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman.
- They only had to give up a 2022 second-round pick as the other piece of draft compensation.
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There are concerns on how the Wolves are going to play defense with Russell and Towns in the starting lineup, but Minnesota has been loading up on defensive wings (Okogie, Culver, etc.) to help mitigate those issues on that end of the floor.
While every Wolves fan will remember the Russell trade as the turning point of Rosas' tenure, he also got a fantastic return for Robert Covington including:
- 2020 first round pick from Brooklyn that should fall somewhere in the 15-20 range
- Two potential building blocks for the future in Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez
- An expiring deal in Evan Turner
- A flier on a young and athletic big man in Jarred Vanderbilt
- Didn't have to send any draft compensation as part of the deal
While Beasley and Hernangomez are set to hit the restricted free agent market this offseason, Minnesota is in a pretty good position to bring one or both of them back on a new deal considering the market should be relatively tepid with few teams having cap space this summer.
Both Beasley and Hernangomez can help the Wolves' spacing on offense with their ability to shoot the three from their respective positions, and they both fit Minnesota's timeline with Russell and Towns at 23 and 24 years old.
Jarred Vanderbilt may never end up being a rotation player in this league, but he's a worthwhile flier considering he's just 20 years old. And if he doesn't show anything to the coaching staff or front office, they can easily move on from him after this season.
Many Wolves fans were ready to jump ship when things looked so bleak less than 24 hours ago, but now Minnesota has a dynamic offensive duo under contract for the next four seasons, a good first-round pick in this year's draft, and some talented young players who could make up the core of their next great team.
It was a bumpy road, as it always seems to be as a Minnesota sports fan, but the Wolves now have something to look forward to thanks to some front office magic from their new fearless leader, Gersson Rosas.