Welcome to the Friday edition of The Cooler, where I certainly hope the people who complained about our less-than-sweltering summer are happy now. Let’s get to it:
*After the Clippers traded away several years of their draft future for a guarantee of two years of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard — a gamble worth taking even if it appears a steep price, since it seems that smart teams are valuing the draft less and less — news emerged that Russell Westbrook, too, could be on the move as the Thunder pivoted to the future.
In the ensuing scramble, a handful of teams were deemed reasonable fits — and at the bottom of a six- or seven-team list, you would often find the Timberwolves.
ESPN fell into the page view trap, including a head-scratching swap of Westbrook and Andre Roberson to the Wolves for Andrew Wiggins, Josh Okogie and Jeff Teague among its “six big Westbrook trades” they’d like to see.
The Ringer went a step further, devoting more than 1,000 words of garbled nonsense to the idea that Westbrook to the Wolves was just crazy enough to work.
And Wolves fans allowed themselves to imagine, “What if …”
But if you were trying to build a reasonable case for it, you were only listening to about half of what Gersson Rosas has been preaching since he took over as Wolves President a couple months ago.
Yes, he wants to add star power to the roster (Westbrook: check) and isn’t afraid to swing big (Westbrook: check), but he has also been adamant about looking for players who are on the same “timeline” as 23-year-old star Karl-Anthony Towns (Westbrook: nope) and who fit into a certain analytics model (Westbrook: nuh-uh).
Westbrook will be 31 in November. He’s owed $171 million over the next four years, which is a far cry from the $117 million, four-year deal Wolves target D’Angelo Russell (also 23, like his buddy Towns) got when he chose Golden State, at least temporarily.
Westbrook didn’t fit here. If the Rockets had to give up two picks and two swaps along with Chris Paul to get him, what on earth could the Wolves have offered? He would have been very expensive. And in a player-driven league, would Westbrook really have helped facilitate a trade to Minnesota as opposed to win-now Houston?
Thursday’s trade to the Rockets was stunning and yet predictable. And if the downside for the Wolves is that another good team in the West probably got better, the upside is that we no longer have to bat down fanciful notions of Westbrook somehow coming here.
And don’t even start about Paul.
*Grayson Allen, who earned his reputation for cheap shots at Duke and suffered through a forgettable rookie season in Utah, was ejected from a Summer League game Thursday with his new team, Memphis.
Never forget: The Wolves picked Josh Okogie No. 20 overall in 2018, and Allen went one pick later. You can lament bad decisions all you want, but this was a very good one.
*The Celtics’ Tacko Fall is listed at 7-7. Carsen Edwards is listed at 6-1. The difference seems even more startling in this photo.
*Only 8 of the 25 players in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game are still on the same team now that they were on then (and three of them are on the Warriors).
*The Twins announced Friday that their TV ratings are up 41 percent this year over last year and that their 6.12 average household rating on FSN is the third-best in MLB this season.