Appearing on The Scoop podcast with Darren Wolfson of SKOR North and 5 Eyewitness News, Timberwolves majority owner Glen Taylor admitted he was somewhat surprised by the team’s acquisition of star center Rudy Gobert, since it “happened fairly fast.”
According to Taylor, new Wolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly had his eye on multiple impact trade targets, but Gobert was his “number one option.” The input of head coach Chris Finch, who expressed confidence in his ability to use Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns, was also a key factor in Minnesota’s decision to pull the trigger on the blockbuster deal.
“What I did when Tim and Chris talked to me about this trade is to ask (Finch) is there a system that he knows how to utilize these players,” Taylor said. “And he was very confident that he did understand how to utilize their skill sets, being two big guys. We talked about a lot, so he convinced me that this is something that is going to take us to a winning situation, and gave us the go-ahead to make the trade.”
Taylor confirmed that the Jazz pushed for Jaden McDaniels to be part of the trade package for Gobert, which “prolonged the trade talks for a while,” but the Wolves were eventually able to meet Utah’s asking price without including the young forward.
Here’s more from Taylor on the Wolves:
- Asked if he’d like to see D’Angelo Russell sign an extension before the season begins, Taylor said it might benefit both sides to hold off and see how the 2022/23 season goes. “(Finch) believes that with the new lineup, and with Russell in that lineup, that he’ll have a much better year just because of the way we’re going to play,” Taylor said. “He says he thinks there’s a big upside for Russell with this group of (players). That’s to his advantage and to our advantage if it works out.”
- The decision to give Towns a super-max extension this offseason was an easy one, Taylor said: “It was a non-issue. That’s what we set it up for, the elite players, and Karl has proved he’s one of those players.”
- Taylor said that he doesn’t expect the Timberwolves to make any more significant roster moves this offseason, though he didn’t rule out the possibility that Connelly could surprise him. “I just know Tim keeps his ears and eyes open all the time, looking (to see) if there’s something else that might happen,” Taylor said. “He’s very proactive if he sees an opportunity that could enhance our team. I think we’re set, but always knowing that he’ll be looking for an opportunity.”
- The plan remains for Taylor to hand over control of the franchise to incoming owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez in a little over a year. The Wolves’ longtime owner said he’s not having any regrets about giving up control of the team as it becomes a more legitimate contender. “No, I don’t have any second thoughts. I think it’s the right thing to do,” Taylor said. “We’ve left some options open that I’ll continue to be involved if I want to be involved, and that suits me just fine.”