If you’ve been paying attention to the Minnesota Timberwolves over the course of the past few days, you know that the team sent Juan Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver to the Memphis Grizzlies via trade in order to acquire veteran guard Patrick Beverley.
Minnesota Timberwolves: The Grizzlies trade is a poor look
Over the course of the past several weeks, the Olympics have begun (and subsequently concluded about ten days ago). There are conflicting arguments about what the Timberwovles were doing when they barred Juan Hernangomez from participating – with seemingly lots of miscommunication from both sides.
Following General Manager Gersson Rosas disallowing Hernangomez to compete for his country on an international level, the Spanish Basketball Federation’s president, Jorge Garbajosa, had to say the following:
“Juancho wants to play in the Olympic Games, but Juancho won’t be able to play. We’ve had countless medical meetings, and we’ve never received a ‘no’. We have received a ‘yes’. We don’t have a problem with the Minnesota Timberwolves or the NBA. It’s a problem of people – not medical personnel – who have personally decided that Juancho couldn’t play. I’m talking about their president of basketball operations … From that moment until Minnesota told us that he won’t play, there were a series of facts that showed that the decision isn’t of medical nature.”
Rosas’s responded with the following statement:
“Unfortunately, we are dealing with an active injury. Based on our team physician’s recommendation, Juancho needs time to recover from and rehabilitate his injury, and that timeline restricts Juancho’s availability to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. The determined recovery plan is the best path forward to allow Juancho to heal properly.”
This week, after all of that had unfolded, the Timberwolves made the decision to trade Juan Hernangomez, indicating that the Spanish Basketball Federation may have been correct in his assumption that the Timberwolves did not want to withhold Hernangomez from competition due to injury reasons.
That doesn’t mean that Timberwolves had poor intentions – in fact – they could have been, in fact, doing the right thing by playing it safe with his injury. Clearly, though, Hernangomez did not think so. His brother even tweeted out “#FreeJuancho” during the time of the Olympics.
Regardless of who is ‘in the right’, this aspect of the Patrick Beverley-Juan Hernangomez-Jarrett Culver trade is a particular stain on the Timberwolves semi-recently-instilled front office. Even though they didn’t have much free agency interest before, it is hard to imagine a player agent championing Minnesota as a destination for their client – at least in the short term. It very simply is not a good look.
You can say what you want about the deal from a personnel standpoint – and in my opinion the Timberwolves clearly won the trade. However, from a player relations standpoint – it’s very, very murky.