The Timberwolves Reportedly Had To Trade D'Angelo Russell Because He Hated Rudy Gobert With A Passion
While all the chaos was going on yesterday during the trade deadline, one thing most people agreed on was nobody had any idea what the hell the Timberwolves were doing. It seemed like in a blink of an eye they went from this
to desperately trying to find a new home for D'Angelo Russell, even if that meant bringing in an old as shit Mike Conley. Things got so bad apparently it didn't matter that the trade they were involved with actually helps a team that's chasing the Wolves in the standings, they just had to move on.
If you have a subscription to The Athletic, there's a great breakdown of how this all went down.
if you don't, the internet has provided you with a recap
Call me crazy, but this is the most believable thing I've ever heard/read. Oh, a point guard hated playing next to Rudy Gobert? Where have I heard that before?
Guess what happened? It wasn't salvageable! Danny Ainge came to town and smashed the rebuild button as quick as he possibly could. Remember all those reports and tracking about how Mitchell never threw lobs to Gobert or even really passed to him? Funny how the same exact thing happened in MIN isn't it?
Everyone can see that the Gobert to MIN trade has been a disaster. Given what they paid to bring him in, the impact hasn't been anywhere close to what I imagine the Wolves thought they were getting. On the season, the Wolves have the 11th ranked defense at 112.6. You might think that's not bad right? Well, last year they had the 13th ranked defense with a rating of 111.0. When Gobert is on the floor that number is 108, but it's not as if the Wolves have vaulted into a top 5 defense or anything. They're 19th in opponent's points per game, and their offense goes from a 108 ORtg when Gobert is on the floor to a 115 Ortg when he's off. A -7.5 net rating offensively when Gobert plays is a bit of an issue if you ask me.
The problem is they're stuck. Gobert is currently in Year 2 of this thing
so it's not like the Wolves can get out of this deal any time soon. The double big pairing with KAT clearly isn't working to the surprise of everyone with a brain. Because of that, if there were issues between the center who the franchise blew their load to bring in and an expiring point guard, guess who wins that battle?
Maybe Conley works better given their history, but if you're a Wolves fan do you want the team to guarantee his $24.6M next year as a 36 year old? That still doesnt solve your long term problem of not having a point guard that you know works with your high priced center. Even if you think DLo is mostly an asshole, it's not like we didn't see this exact same shit with Mitchell. There don't seem to be any issues with Mitchell and any of his current 7ft teammates right? That should tell you that Rudy probably plays a role in this too.
So now that we have some context, I guess the Wolves trade deadline day makes a little bit more sense. It wasn't so much that they were making moves that made basketball sense, they had to make moves to save their culture/cater to their high priced center since they know they can't get rid of him. If that means making confusing trades then so be it.
Sadly, I don't think this changes all that much. They still have a Gobert/KAT problem, they don't have a long term point guard and don't exactly have a ton of draft capital to get it. Not only that, depending on what they do after the season, they'll only have around $6M in space plus a nontaxpayer MLE to work with to find that difference making guard. I'm not sure that guy exists for those prices.
Somewhere, you know Danny Ainge is laughing.