The Minnesota Timberwolves’ trade for Rudy Gobert in July 2022 was a controversial move that landed the team one of the best defensive players of the current generation. The primary reason fans and pundits criticized the move was because of the draft picks the Wolves lost when making the deal.
Minnesota sent four first-round picks as well as a pick swap to the Utah Jazz in order to land Gobert. None of the players included in the deal were top-level performers, but the loss of first-round draft picks is what made many label the trade as a failure.
Previously, we looked at how the trade has already aged well for the Timberwolves. But the team can continue to make up for their loss of draft picks by being tactful with their moves in free agency. Recently, a perfect target for Minnesota became available.
The newest waived player is a perfect target for the Timberwolves.
On Monday, it was reported that the Oklahoma City Thunder had waived former first-round pick Usman Garuba. The 23rd overall selection in the 2021 draft was traded to the Thunder on July 12, and now finds himself looking for a new home.
Through two seasons in the NBA, Garuba’s numbers are nothing gaudy. But based on his young age of 21 and extensive skillset, he could be exactly what the Timberwolves have been hoping for. Usman is a versatile wing who could absolutely develop into a legitimate rotation player in this league.
Standing at 6-foot-8, Garuba brings a high-energy approach to the game. An excellent athlete, he boasts a 7-foot-2 wingspan and uses his high motor to crash the boards and play a very physical style. He is already a very adept defender and has shown potential as a shooter as well, knocking down 40% of his threes last season with the Houston Rockets.
With Garuba now being available on the free agent market, the Timberwolves will certainly want to take a flier on him. Usman is the type of player the Timberwolves would have loved to acquire with one of the first-round picks they gave up in the Rudy Gobert trade. Adding him via free agency to shore up depth in the frontcourt would be an excellent move.