If there is one obvious downside for GM's working in the Internet age, it's that every single trade rumor, no matter how it was conceived, winds up as a certain degree of truth by the time it's circled the globe.
As such, the Timberwolves were bound to look foolish in their end result of a K.G. trade. After all of the swirling of names like Amare Stoudemire and Luol Deng and Lamar Odom, all that the Timberwolves wound up with was Al Jefferson and some change. What a disappointment.
Well, the fact of the matter is those other trades were hardly fully formed options for the Wolves and they could have done a lot worse than they did. Sure, they should have traded him a year ago to the Bulls for a far more lucrative package if it was in fact an option, but they didn't and so this is what they have ended up with. It's curious to think that Portland is allowed to trade 20-10 guys so they can stockpile young players with promise and they're hailed as a team on the rise, whereas the Timberwolves do the same thing and they are just bottom-feeders.
Okay, to be fair the Blazers are certainly at least a year ahead of the Timberwolves in that they have a year under their belts with their new troops and they faired pretty well for a developing team. The Wolves still have a lot of issues to sort out with this roster before moving forward. They have to find a way to jettison Juwan Howard and Ricky Davis, first of all, because neither is going to provide much in the way of leadership for the young players and neither one fits into their plans as they rebuild. The longer either one sits on their roster the longer it takes for this team to jumpstart their future. They also have to address their point guard spot. While Randy Foye may be able to fill in there in a pinch, he is not a pure point guard and would be far better served being developed as a shooting guard in the mold of a Monta Ellis or a Dwyane Wade. Trying to spend these early NBA years learning how to run an offense could stunt his growth as a scorer and lead him to becoming the next Larry Hughes.
But all of those are issues to come. Right now this team has to be applauded to some degree for fast tracking their future. One need only look to teams like New Jersey, Indiana or Sacramento as examples of teams who can't or couldn't let go of the past and are now mired in mediocrity with little hope of promise. Minnesota may have waited a year or two too long to make that connection, but at least the synapses fired before they lost Garnett for nothing, either via free agency soon or retirement later. If there was one thing that this management team has proven for the last twelve years is that they were utterly incapable of building a supporting cast around KG. Now they just have to avoid making the same mistakes with Al Jefferson.
It's a shame that team owner Glen Taylor is so attached to his two-headed monster in the front office that is Kevin McHale and Rob Babcock. The general consensus is that burgeoning executive Fred Hoiberg is being groomed for the GM spot and it would stand to reason that thrusting him into the hot seat now would hardly be worse than having him train under the two men currently calling the shots. This team has run middle-of-the-pack for far too long now and since they have clearly decided to take a step back to take a step forward with their roster, why not make the same switch in the front office?
Well, people have been calling for that switch for so long now there is no reason to expect it anytime soon. Even though the trading of Garnett once seemed like the impossible dream that the firing of McHale seems now, management runs differently than roster personnel. In the meantime the Wolves are at least primed to enter a new era of basketball under AJ and his crew of youngsters and upstarts. Hopefully he has more luck there than the last regime.