Wolves Seize Minnesota Sports Headlines with Largest Local Trade in Decades

Wolves Seize Minnesota Sports Headlines with Largest Local Trade in Decades
Feb 17, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) moves to the basket past Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports.

Move over, Minnesota Vikings. The Minnesota Timberwolves are seizing sports headlines in an emphatic manner.

The Wolves traded Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, an unprotected 2023 1st-Round pick, an unprotected 2025 1st-Round pick, an unprotected 1st-Round 2027 pick, a Top-5 protected 2029 1st-Round pick, and a 2026 pick-swap — to the Utah Jazz for all-star Rudy Gobert on Friday.

Jan 16, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) battles for the ball with LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell (5) and guard Patrick Beverley. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Gobert has reached the NBA All-Star game for the last three seasons and led the league in rebounding last year.

For sheer size of the deal, the transaction emulates the Vikings infamous trade from 1989 when the franchise traded eight draft picks and four players to the Dallas Cowboys for running back Herschel Walker and four draft picks.

Of course, the outcome of the trade for the Wolves in 2022 is unclear, but the Walker trade is mired in disgrace as the Vikings paved the way for the Cowboys dynasty in the 1990s.

In terms of shock value, the Wolves-Jazz trade is arguably the most rim-rattling in the Twin Cities since the Kevin Garnett trade, when the Hall of Famer was jettisoned to the Boston Celtics. In 2007, the Wolves sent Garnett to Boston for Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, and two 2009 first-round picks.

Garnett won a championship with the Celtics.

Apr 28, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports.

The Wolves, a franchise not known for seismic moves, lost in the 1st Round of the Western Conference Playoffs to the Memphis Grizzlies two months ago. In response, the Wolves hired Tim Connelly in May as general manager to push the team over the top.

This is Connelly’s way of doing that.

A projected starting five for Minnesota now looks like this:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Anthony Edwards
SF: Jaden McDaniels
PF: Karl Anthony-Towns
C: Rudy Gobert

On paper, that lineup should contend for the NBA Finals immediately.

The Jazz, on the other hand, become more nimble from a front-office perspective and stockpile draft picks while still contending in the West.

Gobert was the NBA’s eighth-best player in 2021, per ESPN’s Player Efficiency metric. He turned 30 last week.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).