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Wolves On Same Page And In Constant Communication As Trade Deadline Approaches

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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With the trade deadline looming, whatever moves that are made or not made on the Timberwolves side, will be made in unison. 

The trade deadline is on Thursday at 2 p.m. CT. Trades could be announced after that time, but all calls to the league need to be made before the 2 p.m. CT deadline. 

The Wolves are in a unique position having fired President of Basketball Operations Tom Thibodeau last month. Making the front office decisions is General Manager Scott Layden, who has plenty of experience. He’s a basketball lifer. Layden made it clear in his first media availability after Thibodeau’s firing just how dedicated he was to his job and making the Timberwolves better. 

“I spend every waking hour I have trying to make this team better and getting it to a winning way,” Layden said back on Jan. 7. “ . . . It’s one of these deals where we all need to work as a group and get better.” 

Layden and interim head coach Ryan Saunders, who have worked together since Layden’s arrival in Minnesota in 2016, are in constant communication. There will be no surprises.

“Scott and I talk multiple times a day,” Saunders said. “We’re on the same page with everything. So, you know, whatever role is needed of me, I’m always open to it. And he’s great about communication through things and he’s aware of how I’ve envisioned this team playing and that, so we’re talking. . . I expect to be part of it.”

It’s tough to assess the Wolves as a team right now. As of Feb. 6, the team is 25-28, four games back from the eighth seed in the West. The Wolves certainly would like to be in better position, and the team won’t make excuses, but you can’t ignore the amount of injuries this team has had.  

Robert Covington, an All-NBA defender last season, has missed the last 16 games with a knee injury. Tyus Jones (ankle) has missed the last nine games. Derrick Rose (ankle) has missed four of the last five and 11 of the last 18. Jeff Teague (foot) has missed seven straight just a month after missing nine straight.  

“You always want to better your team,” Saunders said. “I know Scott and everybody in the front office and the scouts are always working on things, but we always want more additions. We’ve got guys injured, so it’d be nice to get those guys back, too.”

What makes the NBA so great is the constant 24/7 news cycle. And with that comes plenty of trade rumors and speculation. Some, unfortunately, come with zero substance. For Saunders, there’s a challenge of communicating with players over the next day amid rumors that may or may not be true.  

“I mean, really just go business as usual each day,” Saunders said. “I think the biggest thing and everybody, no matter what role you’re in in the NBA, assistant, head coach, support staff, anybody, you get relationships with these players and you know that everybody is human. You hear your name and you might think about ‘hey, I’m going to start moving my family across the country’ and things like that, so you do want to be able to communicate with them, but ultimately everybody knows this business and everybody’s professional about it.”

The next day in the NBA should be wild. We’ll see if the Wolves make any moves or decide to stay put. 

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