A year ago, Athan Kaliakmanis' stock was soaring while Rudy Gobert's was tanking (and taking major shareholder Tim Connelly along with it).
On Nov. 26, 2022, Kaliakmanis threw for 319 yards and a pair of touchdowns at Wisconsin in a 23-16 victory, the type of performance that would get mentioned often in the offseason as the Gophers quarterback was hyped up.
A couple days later, Gobert was a minus-22 as the Wolves gave up 142 points in a loss at Washington that dropped them to 10-11. Whatever defensive acumen and rebounding Gobert was supposed to provide after a blockbuster offseason trade was missing, and the deal was quickly being labeled an all-time bust for the Wolves.
We could spend the next 10 years re-litigating the Gobert trade and never come to a satisfying conclusion, but the Wolves' game against Utah on Thursday night provides another check-in point.
So, too, does this week's seismic news that Kaliakmanis is entering the transfer portal after a disappointing season while his replacement could be on the way via those same means.
Both topics, of course, were ripe for discussion on Thursday's Daily Delivery podcast.
Gobert is off to a terrific start this season for the Wolves, assuaging fears that last year was the start of a significant decline. Minnesota has held the West's best record for much of the season on the strength of Gobert's strength: defense.
The national media has been lavishing praise on Minnesota throughout their strong start, and even noted Gobert/Wolves basher Bill Simmons has joined the chorus.
Locally, I've even heard suggestions that the Wolves won that trade with Utah in which they sent four first-round picks (really five counting Walker Kessler) and a bunch of useful but expendable players for Gobert.
I'm not quite there yet, but you can see basketball chief Tim Connelly's vision at least. If those picks end up being in the teens and 20s while the Wolves make a few playoff runs, it will be worth it. At the very least, I'm not living in constant fear of someone finding this tweet any more.
As for Kaliakmanis, we learned a lesson in hype and small sample sizes this year. He was too inconsistent. P.J. Fleck knew it and said it.
Now Kaliakmanis is one of 13 quarterbacks already known to be available when the portal opens on Monday.
ESPN ranked those 13 quarterbacks. Though this is highly subjective and again a very small sample, Kaliakmanis was rated the 10th-best QB of 13 who have declared themselves in the portal. New Hampshire's Max Brosmer, a graduate transfer who said he had an offer from the Gophers one day before Kaliakmanis went public with his decision to enter the portal, is rated No. 5.
It's a little crude to think of the portal as a trade machine, but that's how it feels.
Here are four more things to know today:
*Tuesday didn't just end the Wild's seven-game losing streak. It was also just the second time all year that the Wild and Wolves won on the same date (the other was Nov. 4 when the Wild beat the Rangers and the Wolves beat Utah). They'll get another chance tonight when both teams play again.
*The Twins had eight pitchers with a WAR above 1 last season. They have already lost three of them in free agency now that Emilio Pagan has joined Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda on the list of departures who signed lucrative multi-year deals elsewhere.
*Jeff Day and I talked a lot about the Gophers volleyball team on today's podcast, while Day also wrote about the 29 Minnesotans playing in the NCAA Tournament.
*It's been a newsy week with the Vikings entering the bye with a QB dilemma, the Gophers with their own QB issue and the Wild changing coaches. Star Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins and I will talk about all those things on Friday's podcast.