The Butler trade was a good move, but I would have preferred to trade Wiggins over LaVine. LaVine is one of the best shooters and finishers in the league, and while he’s no good on D, neither is Wiggins. LaVine also is a much better off-ball player, whereas Wiggins needs the ball in his hands and a large volume of shots to create offense. And Butler is basically the best-case scenario of what Wiggins could become, depending on his work ethic (another area where LaVine is superior to Wiggins). Regardless, getting Butler was a very good move — it could have been better, but it is a net improvement.
Beyond that, I’m not liking the direction Thibs has been moving. The Wolves were a good offensive team last year, with defensive shortcomings being their downfall. They addressed this by … trading their best defensive guard for a bag of potato chips and replacing him with a worse defender who shoots slightly better and costs a lot more. Rubio’s lack of shooting was never the hindrance to the team’s offense that it has been made out to be, and whatever negative impact it had was more than offset by the additional offense he created for the players around him.
And the Gibson signing is a head scratcher. Not because of the player, but because of the money. 14 million is a lot of money to pay for an over-the-hill guy who plays a position at which you already have more players than you can give minutes. That pretty much puts the team at the cap, leaving a dearth of depth and no way to fill it with any quality.
Overall, the team will be better this year. Towns is still improving at a rapid pace, and Butler is a huge addition. But make no mistake: the Wolves missed an opportunity here to build a balanced team that could compete for a decade in favor of filling out a particular formula that is a throwback to a different era with different rules. They’ll probably make the playoffs, but in two years, they will be looking at another (mini) rebuild, and will have a lot less flexibility to do it than they could have had with a few different choices.