THE RUMOR: Minnesota Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau is growing impatient and may deal one of his young stars for a veteran who can help him win now.
REPORTED BY: Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report
THE DETAILS: Thibodeau is looking for a player he already knows and trusts in his system. Bucher speculates The Wolves could be after Luol Deng, Jimmy Butler or Taj Gibson. The report says Thibs is doesn’t know who he’d be willing to move in a potential trade but people close to him are convinced he will begin calling around soon, if he hasn’t already.
THIS SEASON: The Wolves are just 4-10 this season and are allowing 104 points per game despite being loaded with young talent. Andrew Wiggins (23.9 points), Karl-Anthony Towns (9.4 rebounds) and Ricky Rubio (7.0 assists) lead Minnesota, but Towns, Adreian Payne and Jordan Hill are the only players with a Player Efficiency Rating above 20.
OUR TAKE: Don’t forget Butler was linked to the Wolves before the draft in exchange for the No. 5 pick and Wiggins. Minnesota instead kept the pick and drafted Kris Dunn, who is playing poorly so far in his rookie season. Headed for another high draft pick in the lottery for Kansas star Josh Jackson, Minnesota is better off trading for Deng or Gibson and keeping their draft picks.
But each player comes with a cost, and for Deng its a staggering four-year, $72 million contract for a player that is averaging 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds this season. Also, at 31 years old, Gibson is making just under $9 million this season and is a free agent in 2017-18. He’s currently playing better than Deng with 11.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, but the Wolves are stacked down low with Towns, Hill, Payne, Nemanja Bjelica, Cole Aldrich and Gorgui Dieng. If a trade goes down for Gibson, it will likely involve the latter players.