Gersson Rosas put one of his final stamps on the Minnesota Timberwolves roster with a trade that sent Jarrett Culver and Juancho Hernangómez (better known as Bo Cruz) to the Memphis Grizzles for veteran guard Patrick Beverley. Wolves fans were giddy at the addition of Beverley because of his aggressive nature and winning history, something Minnesota has not had for some time.
On the other hand, fans in Memphis were also looking forward to Culver, a young prospect who maybe just needed a change of scenery. Little did they know that the Wolves just pulled off one of the greatest robberies in franchise history.
Following the 2020-21 season, the Timberwolves finished with a 23-49 record, good for 13th in the West. Despite their abysmal record, the Wolves had a lot going for them. They have a brand-new head coach who looks to be an offensive genius and the bright young core of Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell. For the most part, Minnesota wanted to keep their roster the same, mainly because the duo of Towns & Russell only played in 24 games together.
Aside from trading Ricky Rubio to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Taurean Prince on draft day, dealing for Beverley was the only big move the Timberwolves made last season. Rumors about big-name guys like Ben Simmons or John Collins arriving in the Twin Cities never materialized.
Beverley’s reputation on defense and in the locker room preceded him, but fans didn’t immediately see the meaningful impact he would eventually make on the team.
He became a fan favorite on Day 1. Minnesota’s first game at Target Center was a preseason matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans. It was the team’s first chance to make an impression on its fans. Beverley had yet to be checked into the game and picked up his first technical in a Wolves uniform. His response? “Bravo, I don’t give a f*ck.”
Wolves fans were in love. Beverley went on to be the heart and soul of the Timberwolves every day. It didn’t matter if he was in street clothes or not – he was always a part of the team.
Beverley had a close to a career year, averaging 9.2 points per game, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.2 steals on 40% from the floor. The Timberwolves qualified for the postseason for the second time in 18 years, and Beverley was at the heart of it all. After the Wolves beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-104 in the play-in, Beverley jumped on the scorer’s table like Kevin Garnett did and enjoyed a cold one during the press conference.
He continued to wreak havoc on all sides of the ball during the first round against Memphis, the team that traded him. While Minnesota’s season may have come to a close rather quickly, it had still been a huge success and made Wolves fans eager to see their team on the floor next year.
Conversely, Culver only played in 37 games during the 2021-22 season, most of which were garbage minutes. He averaged 3.5 points per game on 38% from the floor. The Grizzlies dealt Hernangómez and old friend Kris Dunn to the Boston Celtics for Carsen Edwards, who never ended up playing a game for Memphis.
Culver and Hernangómez were not in Minnesota’s rotation when Rosas traded them, so the Wolves essentially received one of the key pieces of what they built last season in exchange for practically nothing. Rosas pulled off a heist. Even though the Wolves would ultimately fire Rosas for inappropriate conduct, this trade was one of the greatest things to happen to the Wolves for a long time.