Minnesota Timberwolves: Rosas may already be eying trading No. 1 pick

D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves talks to Ryan Saunders. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves talks to Ryan Saunders. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves may already be eyeing trading the No. 1 pick.

While it may have not even sunk in with many fans that the Minnesota Timberwolves actually beat two other teams with even odds to win the No. 1 overall pick, the trade talk has already begun.

Yes, it’s begun in earnest in the blogosphere and on Twitter, but it never really stops in either of those places.

But Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas’ post-lottery comments more than opened the door for trading the top pick.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Rosas already eying trading the No. 1 pick

Usually, when a team wins the draft lottery, all the talk is about adding a top talent to the team.

Rosas did that, but he also added some eyebrow-raising words to the boilerplate “we just won the lottery” quote that fans hear from the winning team each year.

First, here’s the relevant part of Rosas’ quote in the statement posted to Timberwolves.com:

"“…We are excited for the possibilities ahead of us to bring in a high caliber player now that we secured the first overall selection. As a front office, we are proud of what we’ve built here in Minnesota so far and we are looking forward to continuing to build upon that foundation in this year’s draft. We know with the number one pick we have the opportunity to draft an impact player who could immediately complement our young, strong core in All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns and All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell…”"

Pretty standard, right? Now, here’s how he was quoted in Tim Bontemps’ article on ESPN.com:

"“There’s a lot of steps left in this journey for us, but today was a significant one…We’re excited about the potential level of player that we can add to our organization, but at the same time, we are going to be very aggressive and look at every avenue to improve this team. We have two young stars in Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell that we’re building this together [with]. We’ve got a great young core that’s young and being one of the youngest, if not the youngest, team in the NBA. We have a lot of upside.“But this allows us to take a major step in talent acquisition, whether it’s in the draft or the trade market, whatever the case may be. It really positions us well moving forward.”"

Those quotes are … different from one another. Let’s focus on the latter.

Rosas quickly serves up a “we’re excited about the potential…but…” He really, really likes to talk about his front office’s aggressiveness and using all avenues and channels to improve the team, and he cut right to the chase.

Then, he moves on to talk about the “great young core” with “upside”, as well as noting that his team is the youngest in the NBA. In other words, trying out his talking points for after they’re one of the few teams in league history to trade the No. 1 overall pick prior to the draft. More on that in a moment.

Finally, Rosas brings it home by talking about a “major step in talent acquisition, whether it’s in the draft or in the trade market”.

Yes, all of this is obvious to fans, but have you ever heard a team’s president of basketball operations openly discuss the possibility of trading the top pick? Remember, not just any draft pick, but the first pick in the draft?

Making this outcome even more likely is the lack of a consensus No. 1 pick in this year’s draft. There simply isn’t one prospect that stands head and shoulders above the others, and the players who are near the top of most mock drafts all have their own individual shortcomings.

light. Trending. 3 areas for Wolves to improve defensively

Revisiting Rosas’ talking point try-out, the other reason why the Wolves may look to trade down is the youth of their existing roster.

Their two stars are both only 24 years old and, put together, have only been to the playoffs twice. Before adding another painfully young player who may or may not be NBA-ready to the mix, the Wolves need to see if they can move the pick and bring back another key player.

Ideally, it would be a legitimate star to help share the scoring load and also help defensively. But stars aren’t traded all that frequently, and the Wolves will need to weigh the cost of moving the No. 1 pick (and potentially other assets) for anything less than a bonafide star.

In the coming days and weeks, we’re going to explore several big names that the Minnesota Timberwolves could pursue, as well as the various combinations of trade offers the Wolves could use to try and entice a potential trade partner.

But make no mistake, Gersson Rosas and Co. already have plenty of possible scenarios gamed-out on their metaphorical whiteboard.

Next. The Wolves should target a trade for John Collins. dark

The Minnesota Timberwolves are open for business.