Tom Thibodeau, The Timberwolves’ Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations is tasked with one job - to aid the development of the T-Wolves’ young stars, win or lose.
Ricky Rubio, Kris Dunn, Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl-Anthony Towns make up this core of young pups and have the look of a future dynasty. However, Thibodeau may look to trade one of the young pups for an established vet, one that he trusts. Per Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:
“Tom Thibodeau is not exactly a paragon of patience, which is why league sources expect that he is only a few more losses away from dealing one of his young stars for a veteran who can help win now. His first look will be for a player that he already knows and trusts because he’s already had that player in his system. Would the Lakers consider advancing their youth movement and dealing former Bull Luol Deng? Would the Bulls consider parting ways with Jimmy Butler or Taj Gibson? Where Thibs looks is uncertain, nor who he is willing to move. But those in the league who know his hunger to win and win now are convinced that he will begin calling around soon, if he hasn’t already.”
Wait, so… Thibs might trade a Kris Dunn-like player for Taj Gibson?! 30+ years old, last year of his contract… Come on, Thibs. We thought you were going to be one of the GOOD coach/GMs.
Very few Coach/GM hybrids work out. Of those in the league- Thibodeau, Stan Van Gundy, Doc Rivers - there is a wide split. Van Gundy has been very successful, possibly the best coach/president hybrid ever, because he didn’t mortgage the future for the present. Rivers, on the other hand, has no care for draft picks, trading a first-rounder for half a year of Jeff Green last year. After free agency- when Thibs was one of the few GMs not to spend big on average FAs- we thought he was falling on the SVG side of that line. But considering his past, we should have known better…
Tommy T is a winning coach. The Bulls won in every season he coached. Before that, he was an assistant on a title-contending Celtics team. His last losing season? Before Chicago, before Boston- his last losing season was with the Rockets, about a decade ago. But his winning streak may be broken this year. The Wolves are 4-10, and relying heavily on Zach LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, all of whom are 21 years old. When people at that age are your star players, mistakes will inevitably be made. But Thibs, a hardcore winner, is seeming to err on the side of Doc - bad, because these are seemingly the 2019 NBA Champions.
These Pups are young, fun - and about to be gone. Would they trade one of their underperforming PGs for Deng? Would they trade LaVine and Wiggins for someone like Jimmy Butler? Let’s look at some trade offers that Thibs may actually go through with.
T-Wolves - Pekovic, Dunn, Wiggins
Bulls - Butler, Gibson
Butler has been playing like an MVP candidate, so its unknown if they would even pick up the phone on this trade, but if they do, it's too good to pass up - this is the entire future of the Wolves, sans Towns, LaVine and Rubio.
T-Wolves - Dunn
Bulls - Taj Gibson, 2 second round picks
This trade is amazing - for the Bulls. Yes, Dunn has underperformed, and this would allow Towns to play center, but this is just so much value lost.
T-Wolves - Muhammad
Bucks - Snell
No, Shabazz isn’t one of their young stars, but he IS a lot better than Snell- but Thibs is familiar with Snell, and Tony plays a bit more defense, so he IS a target (and Muhammad’s lack of defense leaves him vulnerable).
T-Wolves - Wiggins, Muhammad
Suns - Eric Bledsoe, future pick
This would clear up the muddled backcourt that is the Suns, and give Thibs a veteran, defense-first player. This may have to go along with another trade, however, because 4 PGs deserving of minutes, the worst of which (Tyus Jones) being the only shooter, is a no-go.
T-Wolves - Dunn
Raptors - Carroll, 2017 top-5 protected first round pick
This gives another asset to the Raps, who may be able to now trade for a star PF, and gives the Wolves a veteran who is defense-first and can play the 3 or the 4.
See? The best-case scenario involves losing value. Young - for- old rarely works, and for a future dynasty like the Wolves, this could be their end. They don’t want to be like the Thunder, who had an exciting young core that slowly faded away, through trades or free agency, and never won a title. Tom Thibodeau, if you are reading this, please don’t do it. The NBA needs this team, a team that could grow up and challenge the Warriors. Please.