From Minnesota, With Love

You see, in theory I’ve always despised cheesy wordplay headlines. But then I started a blog and, well…

It’s been more than four weeks of speculation and inevitability, but today, Saturday, August 23rd, 2014, the trade became official. Here’s the official details:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers 
    • Send away a 2015 1st round draft pick (acquired from Miami, who acquired it from Cleveland when the Heat acquired LeBron James), 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins
    • Acquire Kevin Love from Minnesota
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Philadelphia 76ers
    • Send away Thaddeus Young
    • Acquire Mbah a Moute, Shved, and the aforementioned 2015 1st round pick.

Kevin Love Golden State Warriors mockup

Remember when we thought Kevin Love was headed to Golden State in a deal that would have sent Klay Thompson to Minnesota? Yeah, this isn’t that. For those who are wondering why this took so long, the Association has a provision that rookies cannot be traded within 30 days of signing their first contract. Once that 30 day period ended, Wiggins could be dealt — and he was. Now we can embrace in earnest all of the hype and predictions that surrounded this previously hypothetical Cleveland roster — one that now features Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Most everything surrounding this deal has been hashed and rehashed on every sports talk show and in every bar or barbershop around the country. The latest developments, however, provide a wrinkle that stands out to me, and that is the 76ers piece of the equation. As Kevin Pelton wrote in his piece for ESPN insider, this deal does certainly make the Timberwolves a better team going forward. What is up for debate, however, is if this is the best deal that Minnesota could have made, and I’m hard pressed to say yes. Pelton points out that you can now look at Minnesota as having two different squads on their roster. One squad is full of youth – players like Shabazz Muhammad, Zach Lavine, Gorgui Dieng, Ricky Rubio, Wiggins and Bennett – while the other is an “older core” so to speak, with the likes of Kevin Martin, Nikola Pekovic, Ronny Turiaf and J.J. Barea. Thad Young may be only 26, but he can opt out after this upcoming season. So what Flip Saunders did was give up a first round pick – one that as I understand it is likely to come out around 17-22 or so – as well as Shved and Mbah a Moute, for one year of Thad Young. Thad Young somehow put up 18 and 6 a game last year, but then you remember he was on an atrocious Philadelphia 76ers squad. I’ve also come to understand that Minnesota is suffering through the longest playoff drought in the NBA – 10 years and counting – but I still don’t think that means this makes sense. If you’re a Timberwolves fan who is longing to return to the playoffs, I totally understand. But is it really going to be worth it to scrap and claw in the difficult Western Conference and, if you’re lucky, end up as the 8th seed?

In the short term, the T-Wolves are now a much more entertaining team, and the future is very bright. But being in “win now” mode? How does that make any sense? Why would you go into “win now” mode when you’re probably not going to be able to win now? If I were running the Minnesota franchise – or if I were a fan of the Minnesota franchise – I would want to be great, and that should mean bringing in a top quality coach who isn’t also your president and part owner, giving him Wiggins, Bennett and a first round pick, and letting him work his magic.

All this said, Thaddeus Young is a talented basketball player, and I’m probably getting a bit nit-picky about having him instead of Shved/Mbah a Moute. It’s that 1st rounder that I can’t get over, plus the fact that you added yet another guy to your roster who isn’t part of the future.

Oh, and Sam Hinkie? Props, sir. You turned one year of Thad Young into a 1st round pick and two other basketball players. Those other basketball players are irrelevant seeing as your basketball team may not win 20 games this year and will only start being amazing in 2015-16 when the triumvirate of Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Michael Carter-Williams is hopefully, finally, fully healthy. Until then, you need to play 82 basketball games next season so acquiring more basketball players probably helps, and if this shiny new 1st round pick can be part of the solution/used to add another piece to the aforementioned core, then the “props” become “major props.”

Anyway, like I said, not too much earth-shattering here. I was just bothered by whatever Flip Saunders thinks he’s doing, and struck by the way Sam Hinkie was able to edge in and make a smart move. We’ll finish things off with tweets and pictures and other things.

Timberwolves young guns

This is a thing the Timberwolves have on their homepage and, I believe, they put in the local paper. Lot of pressure on Lavine. And Young. And Benne…you know what there’s a lot of pressure on these guys.

– Dylan


About Dylan Jenkins

I'm a proud Seattlite currently living in Queens, NY. Outside of sports, I enjoy crime dramas - specifically police procedurals - as well as a wide range of music, everything from Top 40 to Iron & Wine, Bob Dylan & Rogue Wave. I am a cat person, which is to say I'm a human who enjoys felines. I have a tremendous sweet tooth that isn't very discerning, and I refuse to observe a number of unwritten social rules.
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