October opened up with great news for Timberwolves fans eagerly awaiting the next signing of a former Chicago Bull. On October 13th, the New York Knicks and center Joakim Noah agreed to a contract buyout, Noah was waived, and Timberwolves fans anxiously envisioned Tom Thibodeau salivating over the possibility of acquiring the former NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Fortunately for the Timberwolves and their fanbase, Thibodeau has not expressed any interest in acquiring his former starting center. In fact, Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian reported that the Memphis Grizzlies are the primary team expressing any interest in Joakim Noah, and Wolves fans can all take a deep breath and refocus their anxiety on the Jimmy Butler debacle.
Last month, it seemed like it was an absolute certainty that Jimmy Butler was packing his bags and headed out of Minnesota. Unfortunately, the Wolves front office has been unable to strike a deal with any other teams to ship Butler out of the Twin Cities. NBA insiders are reporting that the Wolves have been tough to trade with because the organization is expecting a king’s ransom for the four-time NBA all-star. In fact, on October 26th, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Timberwolves turned down a colossal offer of four first-round picks in exchange for Butler. Its tough to understand exactly what the Wolves are expecting in a trade, but Houston’s offer is likely going to be the best offer they going to receive. Wojnarowski further speculated that the Rockets could offer Brandon Knight and Marquesse Chriss in a future trade with the Wolves when the two former Phoenix Suns become available for trade, but it seems nothing short of a trade package including Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, and a 2011 MVP Derrick Rose could convince Tom Thibodeau to part with Butler.
Speaking of a 2011 MVP Derrick Rose, Rose looked like he was reliving his glory days on Halloween night against the Utah Jazz, scoring a career-high 50 points against one of the leagues best defenses and rim protectors, Rudy Gobert. NBA fans everywhere celebrated the spectacle across internet forums, Wolves fans started “MVP” chants at Target Center, and teammates showered a crying Derrick Rose in the locker room after the game. Rose’s performance was spectacular, and he has been putting up consistent numbers for the Wolves all seasons and may be one of the team’s best stories coming out of a swamp of controversy this season. Rumors are circulating that Thibodeau could move Rose to shooting guard and Wiggins to small forward once Butler is shipped to another team, the team may benefit as a result, and Rose could be provided with another vital opportunity to revive what’s left of his career.
The Wolves are undoubtedly having troubles overall this season. The team’s two young stars, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, have put together inconsistent performances, Jimmy Butler is sitting out games at unusual and unpredictable intervals, and the Tom Thibodeau still looks like he can’t run offensive and defensive schemes that are effective in the modern era of NBA basketball. The team still has things to look forward to, however. Rookie Josh Okogie is playing dynamic and exciting basketball, the Wolves could get help whenever Thibodeau decides to end his romance with Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose’s career may bloom again. The Wolves should look towards the future in a stacked Western Conference where getting to the NBA Playoffs is a bit out of reach, but the future may still be bright, and the Timberwolves should assess this season with that in mind.