When the Minnesota Timberwolves sat down at the bargaining table, what was the motivation to acquire All-Star center Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz? Was it a mutually-motivated transaction? Or was this a meeting that was called by the Timberwolves, a team with a zest for something big and headlining for NBA news, a sort of bold proclamation that there was a new sheriff (or two) in the team’s ownership, and as such this team was going big, or going home?
It feels more and more like the latter.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were never backed into a corner. This is a team that had more than enough options. But it was also a team that had just hired an entirely new cast of NBA executives eager to showcase their value and relevance. And they were not about to do so by drafting young prospects, sitting back, and waiting the necessary two or three years until those young players mature and give fans and executives a bearing on how well their NBA careers would become.
What’s the plan, Stan?
Just like the cartoon of two Turkey Vultures perched on a tree limb, as one turns to the other and says: “Patience hell. I’m going to go and kill something.”
Right now, the Minnesota Timberwolves have a feel of that. A feeling of impatience that overruled their decision to pull the trigger on a trade, at risk of being too quick to do so. I’m not trying to stir the pot and proclaim the deal completely one-sided, it’s not. Nor am I saying that the Timberwolves should have waited one year, I’ve already done that. The Timberwolves pulled the trigger on their own timetable, expecting that waiting would either drive up Gobert’s price or allow another team to acquire the best fit for what the Minnesota Timberwolves planned to do.
But was there ever really a plan? Or was this just a spitballing for ideas session that caught fire among the Minnesota Timberwolves decision-makers and took on a life of its own?