In one of the most surprising twists of the summer, Kyrie Irving has told the Cleveland Cavaliers that he wishes to be traded before the new season. Perhaps even more surprising, however, is that the Minnesota Timberwolves are looking increasingly like a genuine destination for the four-time All Star. Once a place where teams threatened to send their underperforming players, Minnesota is now becoming a franchise that can attract superstars.
Following hot on the heels of the arrival of Jimmy Butler, a trade that sent a signal throughout the rest of the NBA, Scott Layden and Tom Thibodeau are looking to add another star name to their exciting roster before the new season. Having already signed Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague, and Taj Gibson, three free agents that would have been hard to attract a year ago, the T-Wolves don’t appear to have finished their offseason business yet. With Irving just one of a number of players Minnesota are looking at, next year could well be a defining one for the Timberwolves.
While the franchise failed to end a run of 12 seasons without reaching the playoffs last year, there were plenty of positive things to come out of the campaign. One of those was the emergence of Karl-Anthony Towns as a superstar. The 2015 number-one pick has long been touted as a future great, and last season we got to see just how good the youngster can be. Alongside Towns is now a roster packed with a nice blend of youth and experience – the sort of project that could be very attractive to a player like Irving.
The new-look T-Wolves team has certainly convinced many that they could well be a real force next season. Priced at around 18/1 in the latest bet365 NBA odds to top the Western Conference, Minnesota would tick a number of boxes for Irving. As well as allowing the point guard to be more of a focal point than he has been in Cleveland, Irving would be joining a team at the beginning of what looks to be a very exciting journey. Adding a player of Irving’s quality could well be the final piece of Thibodeau’s jigsaw, and just what this T-Wolves team need to reach the postseason for the first time since 2004.
One player that may well be used as a bargaining chip to bring Irving to Minnesota could be Canadian star Andrew Wiggins, who the Cavs are believed to be interested in. The small forward looks set to become one of the best in his position in the league, and the 22-year old showed last season just why he is being tipped for such a bright future. Scoring a career-high 23.6 points a game, the youngster highlighted improvements in both his consistency and defense. While he could well be used as an incentive in the Irving deal, if there is any chance of the T-Wolves holding onto the 2015 Rookie of the Year, Minnesota fans will be desperate for the franchise to take it.
Signing Irving wouldn’t only be another statement of intent for Minnesota, it would see one of the best point guards in the NBA join a Timberwolves team that could well surprise a few people next season.
This article was originally published on TWolves Blog.