The first (and only) domino of the 2021 offseason has officially fallen for Minnesota.
Just hours removed from quite possibly his best international performance of his career, Ricky Rubio was officially dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Taurean Prince, a 2022 second round pick (via the Washington Wizards) and a bag of money:
NEWS: The Minnesota @Timberwolves acquire Taurean Prince, a 2022 Second Round Pick and cash considerations from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Ricky Rubio.
Full release: https://t.co/btUJoUeOrJ
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) August 3, 2021
This deal was originally leaked last week prior to the 2021 NBA Draft; however, it was thought by many that it wouldn’t get officially announced until August 6 (the start of the new NBA year). To the surprise of at least a couple people, the Wolves chose to announce this deal today instead, which as Travis explains below is an “odd” choice:
This means they completed the trade under the previous year, meaning the TPE created was about 700k less than it would’ve been if completed on the 6th. Odd choice… https://t.co/QWRy84LSyN
— Travis Lyle Czech (@TravLyleCzech) August 3, 2021
As Travis went on to say, the difference in money between Rubio and Prince creates a TPE (Traded Player Exception) for the Wolves, and if they had just waited a few days it would have increased by up to $700k because of Rubio’s upcoming raise in his contract. So instead of $4.7 million, the TPE the Wolves got was $4.0 million. Make sense?
With math class now behind us, there’s two ways to analyze the timing of this transaction announcement:
- The Wolves have another move lined up prior to August 6 and wanted to clear the way for that to successfully go down; or…
- Someone within the front office tipped Gersson Rosas off to the idea that the fan base was getting… um… antsy about the lack of activity and they decided to break the consecutive days streak of no Wolves news by dropping this on us.
For the health and safety of future generations, let’s hope it was Door #1 and NOT Door #2, because simply pumping out this deal to appease people rather than getting the full TPE makes… well it makes no sense whatsoever.
Thank you, Ricky. pic.twitter.com/y8MLif9i0d
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) August 3, 2021
Regardless, the Ricky Rubio for Taurean Prince swap is now official, and if you’re curious how some of us feel about the latest transaction, I wrote about it over the weekend.
With the move now completed, the Wolves have a pretty huge hole behind D’Angelo Russell at backup PG and still haven’t truly addressed the PF position. While most of the high-priced big men targets flew off the board during the first few hours of free agency yesterday, there are still guys available like John Collins (yes please), Paul Millsap (sure, why not), and Lauri Markkanen (someone take my phone away from me).
As it currently stands at the time of this posting, the Wolves’ two restricted free agents — Jarred Vanderbilt and Jordan McLaughlin — have not yet received a contract offer from another team, and I would personally be shocked if we see any traction on either of those guys today or tomorrow. With that said, I fully expect to see both of those guys return next season, it’ll just come down to whether they get an offer from an outside team that Minnesota ends up matching, or if both just circle back to their current employer to get a deal done that way.
Let’s see what Day 2 of NBA Free Agency has in store for us…