Rant ahead. You’ve been warned.
Remember when the offseason was fun? Sometimes, more so than the regular season? Especially if you’re a Wolves fan? There was nothing like tracking the progress of rookies over the summer, even though their careers never panned out. I miss getting excited about signing a player that was not concerned about location or winning, but getting paid and maybe even extending their career.
Don’t believe huh? Remember when the Wolves signed Cole Aldrich? Wolves fans were going crazy! He had toughness. Size. Rim protecting ability. And was from Minnesota!
Lets take it back further. Remember when we drafted Tyus Jones? Wolves fandom was split on rooting for the hometown kid and if he would be productive. We followed him into the Summer League and eventually him earning MVP.
Back even further huh? Wolves fans were at one point excited when we traded for Martell Webster. A pioneer of the 3 and D. Yeah, he couldn’t stay healthy and we weren’t competitive, but there was a glimmer of hope.
I could go on and on. I used to love the offseason. Fast forward to the summer of 2018. The Wolves make decent in the draft by getting Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop. I love both guys and think they fit well. We re-sign Derrick Rose to the minimum. Not mad. We replace Bjelica with Anthony Tolliver. Tolliver may actually fit this team a little better than Belly and was actually a better 3-pt shooter. We sign guys like CJ Williams and James Nunnally to fill out the roster. Guys who provide some nice wing depth. Williams is on a two-way contract even though he started a few games for the Clippers. Nunnally seems like a hungry player who can shoot the ball. We add this to a team that made the playoffs last season. Doesn’t seem like regression, right?
Last season left a bad taste in most Wolves fans’ mouth. We thought making the playoffs would taste much better after 14 years. Instead, it was a second half of the season that included a lot of regression. Dropping from the 3rd seed to making the playoffs with the 8th seed and a scary win in game 82.
So why is this the worst offseason ever?
Because every single push notification I have received this summer has been about someone in the Wolves organization making a fuss about nothing. And instead of intellectual discourse amongst Wolves fans about advanced stats and roster gaps, fans have argued back and forth about what and who to believe and which rumor. It feels like a really bad sports drama on Netflix.
It starts with Glen Taylor shutting out the media and refusing to talk about Wolves related topics. Then Jamal Crawford declining his player option and saying there are huge issues in the locker room. Then there is the drama with Wiggins not wanting to be a 3rd option. KAT saying he has things to say or that there are things to talk about but never talks about anything. Then queue Jimmy Butler and every possible rumor from wanting to play for any NBA team essentially and that he doesn’t like to lead others. Or something. I understand Jimmy declining the extension. He did the right thing. But KAT has a max extension on the table and for better or worse, is holding out on signing while his peers are getting paid.
This offseason has not been about basketball. At all. Tom Thibodeau has terrible PR skills. Mix that with a bunch of disgruntled millennials who are paid millions and love attention. And you get the Wolves 2018 offseason. I probably took that last statement too far, but whatever.
If all this extra drama was not involved, I would be crazy about this offseason. I think chemistry is the single most important thing on a basketball court. If it is non-existent, the team will suck. Analytics at its finest. The Wolves had the opportunity to build off of a tremendous season in terms of accomplishments. They could carry forward a team that is mostly the same but with a year of experience together. Continuity. Something that KAT and Wiggins haven’t really seen since high school really. It could potentially make all the difference for an even more stacked Western Conference. Instead we have spent the summer imploding.
How awkward are the training camp photos going to be this season? There is obvious beef. No one seems to want to be the bigger man.
I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. KAT, Wiggins and Butler could love each other. Butler could be trolling the world. That said, it is not fun from a Wolves fan perspective. And horrible for a team that is betting on player development and team continuity as the way they improve from one season to the next.
/ end rant