MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Timberwolves made a big offseason splash last week when they acquired Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
They gave up a lot in the process to add the three-time All-Star and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, including Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, new first round pick, Leandro Bolmaro, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2025 first-round pick, a 2027 first-round pick (all unprotected) and a top-5 protected 2029 first-round pick.
While they've already built a team with a "big 3" in Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, should they take it a step further and go for a full super team?
That's the question pondered on Tuesday's The Ron Johnson Show, a podcast from Locked On Sports Minnesota.
Johnson explains why he thinks the Wolves should make a play for Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving, as producer Sam Ekstrom gives his input as well.
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"If you think about D’Angelo Russell’s $31 million," Johnson said. "Would you rather have that or an off-the-court struggling Kyrie Irving, who on the court is absolute magic? Because now the Timberwolves are a contender with the twin towers."
"And Kyrie could be intrigued to play with younger pieces, because going to the Lakers is a bunch of old dudes and Kyrie would have to carry them," he continued. "And he’d have to play big minutes. Where as with the Timberwolves, he could come in and play iso-ball when they need him, the bigs can get out of the way, but when he’s driving the lane, he can alley-oop to Gobert, kick it out to Anthony Edwards, kick it out to Karl-Anthony Towns.”
Johnson said the Rudy Gobert is going to be so effective for Karl-Anthony Towns, because it will open him up to shoot from the perimeter even more.
“Karl-Anthony Towns is the best big man shooter in the NBA. 39% from three on 2000 threes, that’s crazy," Johnson said. The man can shoot. And now he’s going to get to do it more because he has somebody to rebound and somebody who can defend.”
Johnson says those reasons prove why this would be a great landing spot for Irving, and it would put the Wolves among the NBA's top few teams immediately.
“If they can find a way to get Kyrie Irving, that puts them number two in the West in my opinion," he said.
Executive producer Sam Ekstrom said there's a lot of reasons to like Kyrie Irving right now.
“Statistically there’s been no discernable drop off for Kyrie," Ekstrom said. "He’s the exact same guy he was when they won titles, same guy he was in 2020, same guy he was in 2019. He’s really good…You added a piece in Gobert who is not ball heavy, like he doesn’t need the basketball to make an impact. He’s going to score 15 points a game on eight shots…Now, D’Angelo Russell does. And if you exchange that for Kyrie Irving, it’s not really that big of a tradeoff in terms of needing the ball.
With Kyrie Irving's off-the-court issues in Brooklyn related to his COVID-19 vaccination status, Ekstrom said he does have some concerns for the locker room in Minnesota if they were to try to add him.
‘I do worry about the cultural fit, because you’ve already done something big to this locker room," he said. "You got rid of Jarred Vanderbilt, big time glue guy, people rallied around him. Patrick Beverly was another glue guy. You shipped pieces off that were valuable to last year’s culture and now you’ve rocked to boat a bit because you’re trying to get better on the floor. If you bring in Kyrie, you’re really rocking the boat.”
Even so, he said it would be an all-in move that could change everything for the Timberwolves.
“I couldn’t fault them for going all in," Ekstrom said. "Clearly A-Rod and Marc Lore are OK going into the luxury tax, they’re OK spending a ton of money on these pieces in order to win a title now.”
Johnson said Alex Rodriguez's status as an owner for the Timberwolves could help Irving as well.
“At the end of the day his time in Brooklyn proved that Kyrie needs a little bit of a big brother, like LeBron. He does need a little more guidance from a coach or an owner," Johnson said. "And that’s where I think you hit the nail on the head, A-Rod is a great big bro. A-Rod is a consummate pro. A-Rod is a guy that can have Kyrie over at his house, sit down and have a conversation. Let’s talk.”
What do you think? Should the Timberwolves try to add Kyrie Irving or stay away? Comment your thoughts on our YouTube video below!