Minnesota Timberwolves: Tempering draft night expectations for the Wolves

Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers continues to be a Minnesota Timberwolves trade target. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers continues to be a Minnesota Timberwolves trade target. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The NBA Draft is upon us, and the Minnesota Timberwolves don’t have a draft pick.

Sure, it would be more exciting to have a draft pick, but the uncertainty of what the Wolves front office might do on draft night is arguably just as exciting.

If there is ever a time to make trades, the NBA Draft is generally a perfect time to make them. Remember, the Wolves acquired Jimmy Butler on draft night in 2017. Last year, the Wolves landed Ricky Rubio and added an extra first-round selection.

Minnesota could have the ability to trade back into the draft or be part of a multi-team trade when the time comes.

We know that the Wolves are a possible landing spot for Ben Simmons. It was reported late last month that the Wolves “badly” want Simmons and that president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas was engaging his former boss from their Houston days/current Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey in discussions.

However, if the Wolves aren’t willing to give up the king’s ransom that Morey is certainly asking for, they may just focus on trying to get back in the draft. There are other established NBA players that the Wolves have been rumored to be interested in, including Indiana’s Myles Turner and Atlanta’s Danilo Gallinari.

The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski published a pre-draft primer of sorts (subscription required) in which he ranked current Wolves players in tiers by how likely they are to be traded. Part of the piece, however, focused on the avenues Rosas has available by which to improve the roster.

Krawczynski acknowledges that several of the big names could be challenging to land, and especially on draft night. A more realistic window for a potential trade could be next week, once free agency begins. There will be a number of restricted free agents that could be had in a sign-and-trade; the Wolves will need to send salary out in order to make a deal out anyway, so that may ultimately be the best way to improve the roster.

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The Wolves have some talented pieces and may have a good chance to make the playoffs next year. If Rosas had the choice, he’d surely focus on adding an established, star-level player. With no draft assets heading into the night, it could make a deal that much more difficult.