Reading between the lines of recent press conferences from Chris Finch and Tim Connelly
This time of year, there’s a lot of smoke and mirrors as teams try to keep everyone somewhat in the dark about their plans. Luckily for us, Chris Finch is a pretty straight shooter, and whether to does it intentionally or not, he often gives a pretty insightful quote. That has remained true this offseason, as he’s given a few quotes recently that have helped to give us a peek at what we can expect from the team transactionally when the new league year begins. Tim Connelly seems to play it a bit closer to the vest for obvious reasons, but even he has given us a few breadcrumbs to follow.
Tim Connelly doesn’t think what the Timberwolves did tonight will have much impact on what they do moving forward this off-season pic.twitter.com/i2eNZhUmV2
— Jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) June 24, 2022
This isn’t earth shattering news, and we have more coming this week on how the draft impacts free agency, but it is still encouraging to see that the Wolves don’t plan to ask for too much of Walker Kessler right away. Can he still be useful this season? Maybe! I’d bet on it happening later in the regular season, though.
With that in mind, Isaiah Hartenstein should be at the top of the Wolves wish list, and he actually looks like he may be available now. I thought it was likely that the Clippers would use their taxpayer mid-level exception to retain Hartenstein, but I would imagine that they’re going to be giving John Wall enough of that to make it unlikely they can pay Hartenstein what his market rate will be.
John Wall is planning to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers once he clears waivers, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2022
That would be a really, really nice get for the Wolves.
“One of our goals this year is to increase his role.”
– Finch on Jaylen Nowell
“It’s up to us to provide the opportunity. We can’t stand in the way of his path [to improvement].”
— Jack Borman (@jrborman13) June 27, 2022
This one hurts me deeply in my soul, but it is difficult to read this as anything other than that a Malik Beasley trade is overwhelmingly likely. I’ve had a soft spot for Beas, so even if the move is a “good” one for the Wolves, it will bum me out to see him go. There aren’t many shooters better than him in the NBA, and the Wolves will miss his spacing he provides simply by being on the court. Jaylen Nowell wouldn’t replace Beasley in a 1-for-1 role swap, but that is by far the most likely way to open up backcourt minutes for Nowell.
While the business side of it is tough, it is difficult to argue that Nowell does not deserve a bigger role. He has shown he can really, really score the basketball. He won a few games for the Wolves this year with his scoring off the bench, and it will be exciting to see what he can do with a more consistent role and more consistent minutes. It was admirable how he always stayed ready this past season, but I’d imagine he’s looking forward to having a defined spot in the rotation.
Ultimately, I think both moves/ideas make perfect sense. The biggest concern I have is that Minnesota will want to find a way to replace Beasley’s shooting and gravity if he is moved, and that’s easier said than done. There are guys in the league who shoot at a similar percentage to Beas, but there are few who do so at such a high volume and off of movement. He is truly a great shooter, and he will be very difficult to replace in that aspect.
Buckle up, folks.