Trade deadline chatter, new Wolves hire
The 2022 NBA trade deadline is less than a month away, and the Timberwolves are starting to be mentioned more frequently as a potentially active team. Additionally, Wolves have made another new front office hire.
Timberwolves Roundup: Early chatter on trade deadline
Since last year’s trade deadline, the Timberwolves have been mentioned as possible suitors for stars such as Ben Simmons, Myles Turner and John Collins.
While the rumors have cooled over the past few months, things are starting to heat up as we get closer to the February 10 deadline.
We covered the latest on Simmons and Turner a few days ago, and while not much has changed on that front, we have a few more names to consider courtesy of John Hollinger of The Athletic.
Hollinger spoke with Aaron Gleeman, normally of the battered but hard-hitting Minnesota Twins for some Wolves homework during the MLB lockout, about the Wolves’ somewhat surprising first half of the season and what they could do next. the next deadline (subscription required).
Heading into the season, Hollinger seemed to think Wolves’ ceiling would be that of a playing team with a “median result” of finishing just outside 10th place. He now admits the team is better than that, attributing the addition of Patrick Beverley and increased playing time to Jarred Vanderbilt along with a gradual improvement on the defensive side of the pitch for Wolves’ Big Three.
Later in the discussion, Hollinger notes that Wolves’ only truly valuable trading assets this side of Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards are their next draft picks.
Names mentioned by Hollinger as possible targets that would fit Wolves’ needs are Detroit Pistons’ Jerami Grant, who Wolves confirmed their interest in a few years ago in restricted free agency, and Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, who is in the middle of one of the best seasons of his career.
Grant is currently out with a thumb injury, but once healthy would be an attractive option as a rebounding forward with adequate reach and capable defensive chops. He is owed $20.9 million next year in the final year of his contract.
Barnes has a similar profile but is a little more reliable in attack and not quite the defender Grant is. He also has one year left on his contract and will earn $18.3 million next season.
Detroit and Sacramento would likely agree to acquire a draft pick or two and swing Malik Beasley, which would be needed to match salaries. If Beasley plays well for the rest of this season and next year, his new team could pick up the squad option for 2023-24. If he continues to struggle, this team could cut the bait or ship him elsewhere.
Timberwolves Roundup: Wolves hire new front office member
New minority owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez continue to work to modernize the Timberwolves organization in innovative ways.
Wolves have announced the hiring of Marquise Watts, recently president of brand strategy at Klutch Sports. He will become the team’s CXO – i.e. Director of Experiences – and will focus on player experience, but also interface with the team’s business operations.
It’s yet another sign that Wolves’ new ownership group, along with executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta, is seriously considering changing the culture across the organization and ensuring that the team can not only bring the best talent to the team, but keep the best players with Wolves and make sure their Minnesota experience is top-notch.
It will be fascinating to see what the next few weeks hold for Wolves. Namely, will Gupta really be a deadline-day buyer, or will the Timberwolves ultimately decide to stick with it and see what the current roster can do throughout the season as they continue to grow. together?