About Boardroom

Boardroom is a media network that covers the business of sports, entertainment. From the ways that athletes, executives, musicians and creators are moving the business world forward to new technologies, emerging leagues, and industry trends, Boardroom brings you all the news and insights you need to know...

At the forefront of industry change, Boardroom is committed to unique perspectives on and access to the news, trending topics and key players you need to know.

All Rights Reserved. 2022.

Timberwolves Enter an Offseason of Self-inflicted Uncertainty

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
The Timberwolves offseason has begun. Now, the Minnesota front office needs to decide if this is the core that can deliver a championship.

When one teammate punches another during a game, you know the vibes are bad. Especially when the one doing the punching is your big offseason acquisition. But the vibes were far from immaculate long before the regular season finale.

The Minnesota Timberwolves formally entered the offseason with a five-game first-round playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, officially ending a turbulent 2022-23.

It took time for Anthony Edwards to get used to having both Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert on the floor with him at the same time, clogging the paint and diminishing his otherworldly ability to slash to the rim and get to the basket.

Edwards, the 21-year-old top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, continued his ascent to NBA stardom by averaging 24.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game in his third pro season. Against Denver, those numbers rose to 31.6 points per game on 48.2% shooting from the field.

But Minnesota complicated Edwards’ rise by trading for Gobert. In exchange for the veteran who spent nine years in Utah, the Jazz got back five players, four first-round picks, and one pick swap in a deal that is already being called one of the most one-sided in league history. During the regular season, Edwards went 32-35 alongside Gobert, and Towns went 14-13 with his fellow All-Star big on the floor with him.

It begs the one big question for the Timberwolves this offseason: Can Edwards, Towns, and Gobert really co-exist long term? Or more simply, whose team is this going forward?

Sign up for our newsletter

Get on our list for weekly sports business, industry trends, interviews, and more.

The 27-year-old Towns played just 29 regular season games and has four years and $198 million left on his contract. But is he someone Minnesota wants to build around long-term? Edwards, who will get a rookie max extension either this offseason or next, is someone the Wolves should build around, but does he have the right pieces around him? Does management agree that Ant is a franchise cornerstone?

Then there’s the Gobert contract, which has two more guaranteed years and just over $85 million left, with a $46.6 million player option in 2025-26 that he shouldn’t and won’t pass up. In 26 games together, Edwards, Towns, and Gobert only outscored opponents by 2.2 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com. That’s not exactly inspiring much confidence in a viable long-term Big 3.

The Timberwolves traded D’Angelo Russell in February and brought back Mike Conley, who will be on the last year of his contract next season. The same goes for veteran role players Kyle Anderson and Taurean Prince. Nickeil Alexander-Walker will be a restricted free agent this offseason and is someone Minnesota should bring back. So barring a major trade, this Minnesota core will largely return next season.

After an offseason where the Wolves swung a major trade for Gobert, can Minnesota really run back this team and risk combustable continuity? Can Gobert’s fit be salvaged, or written off as a sunk cost and an even larger embarrassment for a newly installed front office that made its first major swing under the incoming majority ownership of Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore?

Is KAT the best person to be Edwards’ running mate moving forward? Does Edwards want to stay long-term amid the insanity? Minnesota has a ton of uncertainty going into the offseason, and most of that is self inflicted. Buckle up!

More From The Association: