Timberwolves Notes: Afflalo, No. 1 Pick, Trades

A month-and-a-half after we first learned that former NBA player Arron Afflalo was part of an investment group exploring a bid for the Timberwolves, Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic report that Afflalo’s group has now engaged in talks with the Raine Group (the search firm working with team owner Glen Taylor) about buying the franchise.

According to The Athletic’s duo, the group – which includes entrepreneur Jay Bloom – hasn’t yet met with Taylor for advanced discussions, but is hopeful of getting to that point.

Although Afflalo didn’t spend time with the Timberwolves as a player, he’s close with the Saunders family, according to Charania and Krawczynski, who note that the late Flip Saunders was Afflalo’s first coach in the NBA. The former guard has strong relationships with current Wolves coach Ryan Saunders and president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, per The Athletic.

Taylor, who wants a commitment from any buyer to keep the franchise in Minnesota, has sought local buyers, but hasn’t had any success on that front so far, Charania and Krawczynski report. Still, Afflalo’s group doesn’t sound like it has any interest in relocating the Wolves. If the group buys the team, there “would be a desire to become pillars in the Twin Cities community,” according to The Athletic.

Here’s more on the Wolves:

  • While the Timberwolves will explore what the No. 1 overall pick can get them in a trade, the idea that the selection will net them an established star such as Devin Booker or Ben Simmons is probably unrealistic, says Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Pointing out that this year’s top pick isn’t as valuable as a typical No. 1 overall selection given the lack of a clear-cut No. 1 prospect, Hine suggests that players such as Victor Oladipo, Caris LeVert, and Aaron Gordon may be more viable targets in any major deal.
  • Timberwolves executive VP of basketball operations Sachin Gupta, who created ESPN’s Trade Machine, said there will be “no stone unturned” when it comes to exploring the Wolves’ draft and trade options this offseason, as Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic details. “If you’re not being proactive in trade you’re missing out on one of the most significant ways to impact your roster,” Gupta said. “We are not bashful at all. We try to be creative and generate ideas. We’re not afraid to throw it out there.”
  • Gupta added that the Timberwolves aren’t focusing on any specific objective as they consider trade options, but are simply looking to maximize the value of their assets. “We’ve been having a lot of fun just thinking of all of the different possibilities that getting the No. 1 pick has presented us,” Gupta said. “Trading back, trading out, trading for future with the quality of the upcoming drafts and the possibility of, at some point, the double draft. There’s just so much available to us.”
  • In case you missed it, Gupta was identified on Tuesday as one of several candidates for the Kings’ head of basketball operations job.
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