With the recent NBA news that Loul Deng was bought out by the Lakers and then signed by the Timberwolves, I just cannot help but wonder will happen, now that Joakim Noah is about to be released by the Knicks. I'm not the first person that has noticed that the Timberwolves team this coming season look a lot like the Bulls did in the early 2010's, when Tom Thibodeau was the head coach there. If he signs Joakim Noah, or even thinks about it, I will be all out on the Timberwolves.
Look, I have made it pretty clear that I have struggled to find an NBA team to root for since KD left the Thunder and signed with the Warriors. I eventually decided on the Suns, as I wrote awhile back, but for a moment, the team I was going to choose was going to be Minnesota. I had a history, what with Kevin Garnett being one of my all time favorite players while he was there, and I loved the young talent they had. They then let Ricky Rubio go. I know that they had to. He had run his course, and they needed to free up space for better, scoring point guards. They also traded Kevin Love, which I was also fine with because they got Andrew Wiggins and I felt like he was going to be a solid building block. Then they had the number one pick a few years back, and they took Karl AnthonTay-Towns, who I am a big, big fan of, and it just seemed like a good time to stick up for them. Even when they hired Thibodeau, which I wasn't a fan of, and then traded for Jimmy Butler, which I really liked, I was about to go fully on board with my fandom.
Then, they went out and signed Taj Gibson. I have nothing against Gibson, he seems to be a great team and locker room guy, but his best playing days are far behind him. He played his best when he was last coached by Thibodeau on the Bulls. That was about 5 years ago.
The Timberwolves then, after the Knicks dumped him, inexplicably signed Derrick Rose. Derrick Rose was once great. He won an MVP award. He had flashes where he looked like the next big star. But, he got derailed by two horrible knee injuries. He hen started to make wild claims in New York. He then disappeared for no reason while a Knick. He did the exact same thing when Cleveland signed him a year later. Derrick Rose is clearly not the athlete he once was, and there is certainly something mentally wrong with him. But Tom Thibodeau ignored all of the things we all see, and signed him anyway, and then kept him this offseason.
Now, he has decided to bring on Luol Deng. Deng is like Gibson. He was once a solid NBA bench contributor. He did things that helped the mid 2010 Bulls win games. But, he barely saw the floor last year. The Lakers did almost everything they could to get rid of him last year. His best days are clearly far, far behind him. But, Tom Thibodeau wanted to get the band back together as they say.
So, this whole meme and blog generation, and yes, that includes me, have started to call the "new look" Timberwolves, the Timberbulls. I mean, they now have Deng, Rose Gibson and Butler. Butler is the only one worth having, and he wants out. Go read some of his recent interviews, or just look at the fact that he opted to not sign a mega extension. But it doesn't seem like Thibodeau cares. And now, with Noah out there, I wouldn't be shocked if Thibs gets the itch to sign him. That would be horrible. How any of this fits, with Butler being the exception, with guys like Jeff Teague, Wiggins, KAT, is way beyond me. I feel like Thibodeau is a lesser version of Doc Rivers. He likes guys that used to be good on his teams, or against him, no matter how far past their primes they may be.
The only thing these signings, and the possibility of a Noah signing, does is push back the growth of their young stars. Wiggins hasn’t hit his stride, but he still can. Now though, he has to split time with Derrick Rose. Jeff Teague has proven himself a quality NBA point guard, but he also has to split time with Rose. KAT should be “the guy” for the Timberwolves, but Thibodeau is going to throw Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and, if he signs him, Joakim Noah out there to only stunt KAT’s growth. I wanted to like the Timberwolves. I wanted to be a fan. But, with what GM Thibs has done, I just cannot. He is signing over the hill has beens to play with budding stars. He is going to ruin the young players on this team, just so he can have some former Bulls around him.
What a waste.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is a great GM and has NBA 2K rosters to prove it. Call him up T’Wolves.
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