The Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly did some “due diligence” on guard Kyrie Irving prior to the Brooklyn Nets trading him to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Nets received Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie and draft capital from the Mavericks in exchange for Irving and Markieff Morris.
“They (the Timberwolves) also did some due diligence on Kyrie Irving when news broke of his trade request from Brooklyn, per a source, but decided not to pursue him before the Nets traded him to the Dallas Mavericks,” The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski wrote. “While insignificant, it does speak to the mindset of new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and his staff.”
Had Minnesota opted to pursue Irving, it could have dangled point guard D’Angelo Russell as a potential piece, especially since he is a free agent following the 2022-23 season.
The Timberwolves have been playing well as of late, winning seven of their last 10 games to move into the No. 8 spot in a crowded Western Conference.
It’s impressive that Minnesota has been able to stay afloat since Karl-Anthony Towns’ injury. The Wolves front office may believe that the team can compete for a solid playoff spot, which would make sense why it checked in on Irving.
The Western Conference is extremely tight this season with just 5.5 games separating the 13th-place Los Angeles Lakers from the third-place Sacramento Kings.
Since things are so close, it’s easy to understand why Minnesota did its due diligence to see if it could add a star like Irving ahead of the league’s Feb. 9 trade deadline.
This season, Irving is averaging 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 37.4 percent from beyond the arc.
He should help Dallas improve offensively around Luka Doncic, but there are concerns about his future since he’s an unrestricted free agent following the 2022-23 season.
The Mavericks, who currently hold the No. 5 spot in the West, are just half a game better than the Wolves this season.
Minnesota is certainly hoping that it can make a run once Towns returns to the lineup, and Russell’s improved play as of late may be a reason why the team opted to stand pat in the Irving sweepstakes.
The Wolves made a win-now move this past offseason by trading for center Rudy Gobert, and it appears the team is still looking for ways to improve ahead of this season’s trade deadline.