Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 Offseason Predictions
The Minnesota Timberwolves have had a tumultuous season to say the least. A couple of months into the season, they had been trying to stay afloat until their two superstars came back from injury. Forward Kevin Love was on his way back from a broken hand, while point guard Ricky Rubio was recovering from a torn ACL suffered the previous season.
Little did the team know that Love would suffer yet another injury to the same hand early on in 2013 forcing him to the sidelines for another extended period of time. At this point, no one really knows if or when he will return.
Love and Rubio were not the only guys banged up. Center Nikola Pekovic and Andrei Kirilenko were in and out of the lineup for what seemed like all season long. Newly signed swingman Chase Budinger went out early in the season to injury and has just recently rejoined his teammates on the court. Brandon Roy was an experiment that failed, sadly. He could not make his way to full strength as he dealt with nagging knee injuries that forced him into early retirement.
Throughout the year, other questions arose. Forward Derrick Williams has been painfully inconsistent. One month he decides to step up and play with an exceedingly rising confidence level. The next month he's back to his underachieving self.
Coach Rick Adelman had to leave the team for three weeks due to his wife's health issues, bringing up questions of whether he would stay the entire season with the Wolves.
The play of a few reserves sparked a handful of wins that the team would not have had otherwise. One of those guys in particular has been forward Dante Cunningham who has a team option coming up, and a decision will have to be made on that contract status.
With all of the questions and issues surrounding Minnesota, here are five predictions that could come to fruition this offseason.
Rick Adelman Will Ponder Retirement
In January, head coach Rick Adelman was forced to leave the team in order to tend to his dear wife Mary Kay. She had suddenly been experiencing seizures and doctors could not understand what was causing them, despite much further investigation. Adelman returned to the team after about three weeks and acknowledged although there was no true cause found, the important thing is that "she is home now." With Mary Kay's health still very much up in the air, I believe it is not farfetched to think that Adelman may ponder leaving the game of basketball so that he can spend time with his wife and ensure her safety and health. Many of us would absolutely do the same, therefore it is not out of the question.
Kevin Love Will Hint at Trade
An overlooked question this year from the likes of fans has been whether or not Kevin Love is truly happy in Minnesota. There have been rumors saying he is not happy there and would like to get out if possible. After all, who could blame him? Winter lasts what seems nine months out of the year and the Timberwolves have been a pretty pathetic franchise for several years. However, with Love and two other cornerstones in place that are point guard Ricky Rubio and center Nikola Pekovic, wouldn't he want to see what these guys can do at full strength for a season? No one knows for sure at this point, but Love may end up hinting at a trade this summer if he indeed is not thrilled to be in the midwest.
Dante Cunningham Will Remain With Team
A bright spot for the Timberwolves this season has been the play of reserve forward Dante Cunningham. Averaging over eight points and five rebounds along with a steal per game this season, Cunningham has been a lift off the bench when the team needed someone to step up in the absence of an injured starter. He is shooting just over 46 percent from the field, therefore, has been an efficient option off the sideline. Cunningham has a team option this summer and could be let go, but I believe he will be retained. Only making $2 million this season, he is not only a cheap contract, but he is a very young and athletic forward that the Wolves should keep around.
J.J. Barea or Luke Ridnour Will Be Gone
As you've seen me say in previous articles this season, the Timberwolves cannot keep this whole four point guard rotation going for much longer. Both J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour have been inconsistent and definitely not worth keeping for the money they're making. Retaining one might not be a horrible idea, but keeping both of them would be suicide. Minnesota has desperately needed a true shooting guard to start alongside Ricky Rubio, and if they do not go get one this summer they have failed miserably on priority number one.
Derrick Williams Will Be Traded
Will it be the Los Angeles Lakers? The Dallas Mavericks? Maybe even the Denver Nuggets? There were rumors all season long about forward Derrick Williams being traded, but they never came to be. He has been a pleasant surprise for Minnesota at times this year, but other moments he has failed to live up to expectations. The Timberwolves thought they finally had the production they were looking for in February and March when Williams seemed to look the most confident and assertive, but recently he has tailed off. This offseason the Wolves would be none the wiser to get rid of him for possibly a starting shooting guard. Trading Williams and a combination of either a pick or another player could allow the team to finally find the starting two guard they have needed for quite some time now.