How LeBron James saved the Timberwolves

Categories: Timberwolves
AndrewWiggins.jpg
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When this was taken in June, Wolves fans couldn't have imagined Andrew Wiggins would play his first game for Minnesota. But thanks to LeBron, it appears he will.
Two months ago, the Timberwolves were in a tough spot. Kevin Love had already made it clear he wanted out of Minneapolis, and the most enticing available trade looked to be with Golden State, where the best player coming our way, guard Klay Thompson, would be hitting restricted free agency next summer and looking for a huge long-term contract.

Basketball considerations aside, Flip Saunders and company couldn't have been reassured to hear Klay's dad, former University of Minnesota star Mychael Thompson, go on the radio in California and say he was "depressed" and "disappointed" about the rumors linking his son to the Timberwolves. Thompson, in fact, said he was "going to have to talk [Klay] down off the ledge" if he was traded to Minnesota.

See also:
Did Zach LaVine say "f**k me" after Timberwolves drafted him? [VIDEO]


That wasn't ideal, but with K-Love only a year away from having the ability to leave town for nothing, it seemed like the best option out of a bad set.

Then, on July 11, this happened:

LeBronComingHome.jpg
Sports Illustrated

Suddenly, a new, enticing possibility opened up. Though conventional wisdom was that K-Love wanted to end up along his native West Coast in either Los Angeles or the Bay Area (New York was also a rumored destination), what self-respecting NBA player wouldn't want to play with one of the top players of all time in his prime, even if you had to relocate to Cleveland to make it happen?

But Bron's homecoming wasn't all. Cleveland also needed some ridiculous luck to land K-Love, and they got it, as the Cavs secured this year's top draft pick by winning the lottery despite having less than a 2 percent chance of doing so. They used their selection on 19-year-old Canadian swingman Andrew Wiggins, a player some compare to Kevin Durant. (Timberwolves fans can only drool thinking about that...)

(For more, click to page two.)


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19 comments
markie19
markie19 topcommenter


11 days ago

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DeleteShareLikeReplymarkie19Jul 20, 2014

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markie1918 hours ago


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dancinjanson
dancinjanson

Re: "Andrew Wiggins, a player some compare to Kevin Durant."

Nobody who knows anything about basketball has ever compared Wiggins to Durant. This is just totally inaccurate. I believe that Wiggins will be an excellent player, but the Durant comparison is odd and I wonder if this dude is qualified to be writing about basketball.

Evan Shanley
Evan Shanley

I meant it in half jest. While My family is from Cleveland, and I have a bias, I get it. ;)

Brandon York
Brandon York

Ha ha ha ha ha ha...oh wait, you were serious?

Kirk Bednarchuk
Kirk Bednarchuk

The wild do not suck and should go deep into the playoffs this year, just sayin

Steve Schmidt
Steve Schmidt

Out with the old, in with the future! I wish love the best, and the worst. Wiggins will be to Minnesota what K Love could never be. Stats blah blah.

Justin Tha Realist
Justin Tha Realist

Im thinking y they got 1 of the better pfs in the league a explosive young pg n a pretty decent center but still.cant make playoff s after this tradr cant b much worse esp 2-3'yts from now. Compare 2 2008 thunder they was weak 2 yrs later 1 of the best

Evan Shanley
Evan Shanley

"...even if you had to relocate to Cleveland." How dare you make fun of my fair city! Minneapolis isn't any better, that's for sure!

citypages30
citypages30

How is this help for the Wolves? Setup and play "Let's See What Happens 3 Years from Now" again?

When will we get a real coach? Somebody who can prove to this team what teamwork really is and how it really works?

Devin Connelly Vander Schaaf
Devin Connelly Vander Schaaf

Let me get this straight. We get three first round draft picks (Wiggins, Bennett and a conditional first rounder) for a whiny, stat padding, non defender who hurts himself doing "knuckle push ups" ? Put me in the "can't happen soon enough" camp.

Louie Lu Lettuce
Louie Lu Lettuce

Someone helped the Timberwolves? That still means nothing! Just like the rest of MN teams, they all suck! Except for the WNBA Lynx.

Kris Head
Kris Head

Kevin Love always was a wanker.

bcollins10
bcollins10

How many #1 overall draft picks have changed the fortune of their teams? In the last 13 years, I'd contend there have been two: LeBron James and Derrick Rose. 

But, yeah, this time it'll all be different for the TWolves

LakeCharles
LakeCharles

@bcollins10 Really? Dwight Howard absolutely changed the fortunes of the Magic (from cellar dweller to the NBA Finals), Blake Griffin has made the Clippers relevant (CP3 never would have resigned without him, and those two have brought many other pieces of that team which is now a step away from the Finals), and Anthony Davis will be an absolute monster (he's only been in the league 2 years, after 2 years Durant hadn't changed his teams fortune either). So that is at least 5 of 13. And it's way too early to tell about Bennett and Wiggins so it's really 5 of 11. Of those 6 that didn't change the fortune of their teams, Irving, Bogut and Wall are all All-Star caliber players, as was Yao (who made it to the playoffs 5 times before injury), Oden was super unlucky with injury (which can always happen to any team any time). Which leaves Bargnani as the lone "bad" pick of those 13. I'll take those odds.

atrupar
atrupar moderator

@bcollins10 (Reposting this from Facebook since I think it's pertinent here)

I hear you, Bob. My point is just that, relative to the options on the table a couple months ago, it's hard not to be THRILLED about acquiring Wiggins. Not only is his ceiling higher than Klay's, but as a rookie, he'll be under team control for six or seven years without costing a fortune. 

I wish K-Love all the best, but in light of how disappointing and dysfunctional the past couple seasons have been, I can't help but feel like this is one of those situations where a change of scenery is best for all parties involved. And I suppose that's the nature of a good trade -- both sides benefit.

bcollins10
bcollins10

@LakeCharles Number of games Griffin improved the Clips when he joined the league: 3. Number of more games Clips won when Chris Paul joined the team: 8.

I'm not arguing the top overalls aren't good players, I'm arguing that changing a team by definition happens VERY rarely in the NBA. It happens more often when stars are added to the team.  Now maybe -- maybe -- free agents will want to come here (of course, that's what they said when Love was paired with Rubio and we thought Rubio could actually shoot),  but there's zero evidence that Minnesota as a basketball market can ever be that attraction anywhere but in a few moments of our deepest REM sleep.


That we have a #1 overall is a step, to be sure. But it's not THE step and fans shouldn't expect it to be.

There's a lot more to building a championship caliber team that draft picks with potential.

As fans, we tend to vastly overrate the potential of young players.

Meanwhile, as they develop, the CBA clock is ticking toward the moment when good players can go to a winning team.


Meanwhile, the Timberwolves are raising ticket prices from 50-75 percent in the most affordable seats to see, what, exactly? 


And, I'm sorry, but it's completely illogical to say that sending Kevin Love away somehow "saves" this franchise. And completely ludicrous.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@bcollins10 Having as many high potential young players as possible is the only way to improve a  team.  

bcollins10
bcollins10

@MicheleBachmann @bcollins10 I tend to believe having the most talent is a pretty effective way.  Talent wins.

Being smarter than other NBA teams -- I'm looking at you, San Antonio, and your #28 selection of Tony Parker -- works pretty well.

Again, MAYBE that's where Flip excels, but there isn't any evidence that this is true.

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