Minnesota Timberwolves: Pros, Cons Of Standing Pat At Trade Deadline

Oct 12, 2016; Lincoln, NE, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau laughs with the referee during the game against the Denver Nuggets in the first half at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves failed to make any moves ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. How will this affect their future as they move to build a playoff contender?

The Minnesota Timberwolves roster remained intact on Thursday after all was said and done. Tom Thibodeau completed his first trade deadline as Timberwolves president.

Rumors were running wild about Ricky Rubio and Shabazz Muhammad.

But in the end, Thibodeau decided against trading either player.

The ramifications that this may or may not have on the roster are still unknown. It appeared a slightly larger percentage of fans were against Rubio-Rose swap.  However, they were disappointed when no moves were made at all.

The Minnesota Timberwolves resume play Friday night when they take on the Dallas Mavericks at the Target Center. They are 22-35 and are three games out of eighth place in the Western Conference.

Ultimately, the swirling rumors that were running rampant didn’t lead to any moves for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Here are the pros and cons of standing pat at the trade deadline.

Oct 10, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio (9) looks to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports.

Pro: The Timberwolves can still trade Rubio this summer

For better or worse, Ricky Rubio will remain as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. At least for right now.  For those of you who were hoping that Rubio would finally be traded after years of rumors, there is still time.

You will, however, have to wait out the rest of the season and watch Rubio suit up for the final 25 games. There’s also the fact that Rubio will still have two years and $29 million left on his contract after this season.

On the positive side, Ricky Rubio appears primed to be a major part of more trade discussions this offseason.  Tom Thibodeau has never appeared to be too enamored with Rubio.  The Minnesota Timberwolves did, after all, draft Kris Dunn with the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft.

The rumors immediately began that the Timberwolves were looking to move Rubio.  After he wasn’t traded in the offseason the rumors continued to pop up sporadically throughout the season. They climaxed at the trade deadline, but no trade ever materialized.

Ricky Rubio’s trade value may be as low as ever right now. He is averaging a career-low 8.9 points and 3.8 rebounds. Rubio is also averaging “only” 8.4 assists per game, which is his lowest since his second NBA season.

However, over the last seven games, Rubio has been playing very well and is averaging 10.9 points and 10 assists.

Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves may be willing to gamble that Rubio continues that stellar play throughout the post All-Star break.  This will significantly increase Rubio’s trade value and potentially bring back a bigger haul for the Wolves than an expiring Derrick Rose.

Dec 8, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; The Toronto Raptors won 124-110. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Con: Ricky Rubio’s confidence

In a cut-throat business like the NBA, there is never a good time to take things personally. The NBA is after all, first and foremost, a business.  While there are relationships built along the way, winning is what matters at the end of the day.

Nobody understands that better than Tom Thibodeau.

Tom Thibodeau is obsessed with winning. He will do anything to win. Part of Thibodeau’s strong desire to win is why he was fired in Chicago. Well, that and his constant feud with management.

After the trade deadline came and went on Thursday Rubio remained a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Thibodeau had this to say in an interview with the Associated Press:

You’re expected to be professional. Everyone has a job to do. Come in, do your job. You can’t get lost in the other stuff. That’s what the expectations are.

It’s obvious that Rubio is not in the long-term plans for Minnesota.  How will the trade speculation affect Rubio moving forward the rest of the season?  Rubio is in his sixth NBA season and this isn’t his first rodeo regarding trade rumors.

Ricky Rubio responded to Thibodeau’s comments on Thursday:

We’re professionals, but we’re human beings, too. We have feelings. But I know this is a business and it has to be like that.

Rubio also later tweeted:

Rubio is right. As much as a business as the NBA is it is impossible to not let your feelings get in the way.  The Minnesota Timberwolves treatment of Rubio will constantly be on his mind for the rest of his Timberwolves career.

Mar 21, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau smiles before the game against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Pro: Thibodeau remains calm at the deadline

Maybe, just maybe, Tom Thibodeau knows what he is doing.  Thibodeau is in his 26th year of coaching in the NBA and seventh as a head coach.

Even though this is Thibodeau’s first time calling the personnel shots as president of the Minnesota Timberwolves, he displayed the savvy of a long-time vet.

Marc Stein reported that the Knicks were pressuring the Timberwolves to add an additional piece to the Rubio-Rose trade.  Thibs wasn’t falling for it though.  In his talks with the “Zen Master” Phil Jackson, Thibodeau stood his ground.

After the Knicks failed to secure an additional asset to the Rubio trade, they settled for a straight Rubio-for-Rose swap.  Marc Stein, again, reported that the Timberwolves backed out of that potential deal as well.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were worried that Rose’s style of play could affect the development of Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. They also feared that they would not be able to re-sign Rose in the offseason and he would end up walking for nothing.

Whatever the reasons were, Thibodeau remained calm at the deadline and didn’t make any drastic maneuvers for a team who has nothing but time on their hands.

January 19, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) and forward Andrew Wiggins (22) celebrate the 104-101 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers following the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Con: Pressure remains on Towns and Wiggins

The Minneosta Timberwolves failed to bring in any extra help at Thursday’s deadline. That means the burden to win will remain on Towns and Wiggins. At 21 and 22 years of age, respectively, that is a lot of pressure to put on two young players.

Even if the focus isn’t on winning the Towns and Wiggins duo will still be asked to do everything.  So far this season they have combined to average 46.9 points per game, 15.9 rebounds, and 36.8 minutes. That is a lot of heavy lifting.

With Zach LaVine out for the season there is only one other player who is averaging double-figure points, Gorgui Dieng.

Derrick Rose may be many things, but one thing he can do is put the ball in the hoop. Rose is averaging 17.6 points per game this year. He would have provided the Timberwolves with some scoring relief to Towns and Wiggins.

He also would have become the third scorer that every NBA team needs.

At the end of the day the Minnesota Timberwolves should keep both eyes towards the future.  Their two budding superstars are years away from their prime.

Even though everybody in the organization wants to win as soon as possible it is important to remember to remember the youth of their star players.  The Minnesota Timberwolves can rise to stardom, but in due time.

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