As a reminder
By now, anyone keeping pace with NBA news has heard; Kevin Love is no longer a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Traded was he to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett-- the previous two, number one overall draft selections. The other, now former, Timberwolves involved in the Love deal, Alexey Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute, are moving out East as members of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers also attained a protected first round draft selection from, but never possessed by the Wolves, who, in return, received an athletic though somewhat undersized power forward in Thaddeus Young.
Shved and Mbah a Moute are now at the mercy of a mad basketball-scientist named Sam Hinkie, Sixers' President of Basketball Operations and General Manager, who has implied zero interest in deploying a competent product onto the court this season. Philadelphia will continue to pursue and stockpile assets throughout the season while, coincidedly; Love, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cavs represent the preliminary favorites to win the Eastern Conference. The trade essentially positioned each team into a circumstance they had wanted to be in entering the year.
In wake of reform
During Saturday's press conference Flip Saunders claimed he has created a new identity for the Timberwolves; Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng, and Nikola Pekovic, in addition to those acquired in exchange for Kevin Love reflects an explosive and exciting group of two-way players. Perhaps begrudgedly Saunders, by trading Love, received what the consensus considers an adequate return-value. Still, because the subsequent analysis of this transaction is assessed mostly at a macro level, discussion of the immediate future is yet to appropriately pinpoint expectations for the upcoming season.
For now, promoting optimistic thoughts and beliefs amidst fans is justified behavior.
Although few believe Saunders will coach the Wolves into the qualifying echelon of the Western Conference this season, trading Love renders a sustainable premise to build onto moving forward. Thus the most critical portion of this offseason is complete, but, there are more executive decisions that have yet to be made. Saunders has nearly two months to decide which 15 players will appear on the roster in the season opener on October 29th, and he must also prepare to resume head coaching duties. Despite creating a respectable foundation for the future -- something that is dependent on the evolution of potential -- there's still an abundance of work left for Saunders and the Wolves to do.
The new look Timberwolves have an opportunity to immediately revitalize what has historically been an underwhelming franchise. Is that even possible? If so, how long will it take them?