On one hand, the Timberwolves have one of the more electrifying players in the league in Anthony Edwards. On the other, they have a duo of big men in Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert who did not work together last season. In what Bill Simmons has labeled as new owner syndrome, the new ownership group wanted to make a splash and mortgaged the team’s future in an attempt to cut corners and catapult the team into title contention.
To say they’ve fallen short is an understatement. The offense is clunky and both KAT and Gobert look better when the other is off the court. With the numbers being tossed around for Jalen McDaniel’s extension, the situation in Minnesota is untenable from both a financial and on-court standpoint. Tough decisions will have to be made and it could affect their ability to win games this season.
Minnesota Timberwolves (Over/Under 44.5 Wins)
Key Additions - Shake Milton, Troy Brown
Key Losses - D’Angelo Russell
Even with Mike Conley’s $24.3 Million coming off the books after this season, Minnesota is at $160 million before adding in Jaden McDaniels extension and filling out the rest of the roster. This team is going nowhere fast and getting more expensive by the minute.
Anthony Edwards is untouchable so how, exactly, can this team take a step forward? Trading Gobert on his current contract will almost certainly involve taking on toxic salary. Even if they were somehow able to net some draft capital in the deal, the players involved in making the salaries match are unlikely to help take this team to the next level.
With Jaden McDaniels on the verge of signing a monster extension, it’s clear the organization views him as a building block for the future. Naz Reid is a nice player, could help a number of teams, and will certainly have a market. But at salary just below $13 million a year, he alone won’t net a significant player in return. You could combine his salary with Kyle Anderson but is the team willing to commit to even more long-term salary?
That leaves us with one viable option to significantly change the outlook of this team, Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns has a propensity for saying silly things and has folded in some key moments, but his talent is undeniable. I would not want him as my best player but if he can play next to a true superstar, it’s possible his talent can be maximized. Anthony Edwards is growing into that mold, but does he have the cache to be able to hold KAT accountable? This team’s future would seem much brighter if they had simply not traded for Rudy Gobert.
The Wolves new ownership made their bed and now must lay in it. If Anthony Edwards and KAT start the season on a tear they could explore what’s available on the market for Gobert. If they struggle to win games and the vibes around the team are less than immaculate, anticipate a ton of KAT rumors being floated.
As it stands, this team doesn’t fit well together, and I don’t think they will be good enough to compete with the best teams in the West. The roster may look very different post-trade deadline and next year’s team could and should be close to unrecognizable from today’s version.
PREDICTION: Under 44.5 Wins