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2021 NBA Draft Rumors: Timberwolves Edition

As we draw closer to Thursday night, let’s recap some of the latest news and notes surrounding the Minnesota Timberwolves.

New Orleans Pelicans v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Editor’s Note: As we ramp up the #kahntent yet again here at Canis Hoopus, I wanted to officially welcome Samuel Khaskel to the team. Sam is from the Bay Area and has been a Wolves fan for many years now and recently expressed strong interest in helping us cover the team this upcoming season. I’m excited for Sam’s fresh perspective on all things Timberwolves and can’t wait to see what he conjures up for the site this fall. Welcome, Sam!

Before we get started, I just wanted to introduce myself quickly — my name is Samuel Khaskel and I am very excited and thankful to announce that I will be a part of the Canis Hoopus team. I became a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves back in 2015, but I started watching basketball in 2012-2013 while the Heat and Spurs had their battles. Up until I became a Wolves fan, I used to primarily watch the Heat and Warriors a lot, since I am from the Bay Area and the Warriors were the hometown team. I became a fan of Minnesota specifically because I loved the young talent on the team and I watched Karl-Anthony Towns play a lot in college, which made me want to follow him as he transitioned to the pros.

With what could be a very pivotal offseason in recent Minnesota Timberwolves history, Gersson Rosas and the rest of the front office could be working a lot of magic on draft night. With zero picks going into the night of July 29th, the Timberwolves have been actively searching out ways to possibly enter the draft (specifically the second round). The team has made it known they will do whatever it takes and make the necessary moves to strengthen their roster in the hopes of solidifying themselves as a playoff contender.

Ricky Rubio On The Move?

The most recent rumor we heard this week was from Adrian Wojnarowski, who had mentioned that Ricky Rubio was a potential target for the Lakers. This could mean a swap of Kyle Kuzma and Rubio, but also could be a larger deal. A larger deal could possibly have picks involved, as well as Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker.

Although it would be disappointing to let Rubio go, especially after Anthony Edwards had said that he had helped with his development last season, this trade would allow the Wolves to add versatility and would fill a void at the power forward position. Although Kuzma had struggled in the playoffs, he shot 36.1% from three and averaged 12.9 points throughout the season. A solid scorer like that would obviously fit well next to KAT on the front court, although the defensive impact leaves much to be desired.

As for the Lakers, a deal like this would net them a veteran point guard who provides additional playmaking and defending, although the lack of a consistent outside shot might not be ideal for that specific Lakers roster. While it still seems far more likely that LA will swing for the fences for a guy like Chris Paul or Kyle Lowry, the Rubio option seems like a fallback plan for if/when things don’t work out.

A Fresh Start For The Former 6th Pick

The other major Wolves-related note this week was from our own Doogie Wolfson, who reported late last week that Minnesota is open to moving Jarrett Culver for a second round pick in the upcoming draft.

Coming off a shortened season where he needed to get surgery on his ankle, Culver averaged 5.3 points and shot only 24.5% from three. As you know by now, the former 6th overall pick was originally part of the Dario Saric trade that sent him (Saric) and the 11th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft to Phoenix. Two years later, the trade clearly hasn’t panned out for Minnesota, which adds fuel to the fire as to why the Wolves might be interested in cutting bait.

While swapping the former Texas Tech alum for a second round pick isn’t necessarily ideal, the Wolves have shown success recently with finding talent late in the draft process, whether that be Jaylen Nowell (who was picked 43rd by Minnesota back in 2019) or Naz Reid (who was an undrafted free agent that the Wolves signed in 2019 as well).

Looking Ahead Towards Thursday

While the list of Timberwolves free agents isn’t long (Ed Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt, Jordan McLaughlin), the roster for the 2021-22 season could still look dramatically different after the draft process and free agency shake out. Gersson Rosas has made it known that he is not hesitant to make moves and that trades will be his ultimate weapon to strengthen the roster that he has almost completely turned over since his arrival a few years ago. Whether it be this Thursday night or early next week, I’d expect the Wolves to continue to be active as they patrol the rest of the league for potential deals.