3 Timberwolves who earned untouchable status, 2 who could be cut loose

This past season, several players in Minnesota cemented their role for the future, while others became more expendable.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Minnesota Timberwolves
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Minnesota Timberwolves / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Untouchable: Rudy Gobert

When the Timberwolves made their blockbuster trade for Rudy Gobert back in the first week of July in 2022, it was a total shock to the basketball world. No one seemed quite sure where the elite rim protector would end up, but not many would have guessed Minnesota. When he officially teamed up with Karl-Anthony Towns in the Wolves' frontcourt, there was plenty of doubt to go around.

Many were panning the Timberwolves' trade and calling the pairing of KAT and Gobert illogical. Some were even so bold to declare it the worst trade in NBA history, and Rudy's struggles to begin the 2022-23 season did not help to ward off these crazy claims. Add in the fact that the rookie that he was traded for, Walker Kessler, was having an excellent debut campaign, and it was a nightmare scenario for Wolves fans.

But staying true to their process, Minnesota's front office trusted in Gobert and sure enough, he returned to form in his second year in the Twin Cities, taking home an all-time record-tying fourth Defensive Player of the Year award. Rudy anchored the Timberwolves' defense all season long and helped transform them into the best defense in basketball. He is clearly an immovable piece from here on out.