T-Wolf draft trade trap 7-1 Auburn Center Walker Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves added a potential rim defender to complement star Karl-Anthony Towns, acquiring 7-foot-1 Auburn center Walker Kessler in a draft pick swap that made him an additional first-rounder who would be the first-rounder. Duke forward became Wendell Moore. Thursday Night Jr.

In their first draft under new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly, the Timberwolves — coming off a 46-win season and just the second playoff appearance of the past 18 years — were active on trade calls, taking advantage of some depth below. . Third of the first round to take an additional chance.

According to a person with knowledge of the trades, speaking on condition of anonymity because the NBA had yet to finalize the deal, the Timberwolves sent the Grizzlies the 19th pick for the 22nd and 29th picks.

Walker, who won two National Defensive Player of the Year awards and was widely regarded as the best shot-blocker in this draft, came in at No. 22 off the board.

Rebounding is one of Minnesota’s biggest needs, with the power forward being the most obvious position to add to the roster, but Towns’ versatility also allows him to play in the No. Could be Kessler. , For now, Kessler, the only player in the country to have had multiple triple-doubles this season, is perhaps best suited to come off the bench in a limited role as he adjusts to the pros.

That person said, Wolves sent No. 29 to Houston in another swap for No. 26, which was originally from Dallas. That’s where Moore went. The 6-foot-5 wing, who was the second leading scorer in a Duke team full of future pros and reached the Final Four, flourished in his third season. He was the ACC All-Defensive team pick.

The trades, which included Wolves’ future second-round players, were still pending for league approval and official announcement by the NBA. He started the night with three second-round picks that were also part of a flurry of business activity around the league.

Wolves were no choice in last year’s draft, both due to Golden State completing a trade that landed D’Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggins being sent to the Warriors in 2020.

Wolves have ushered in another era of leadership in their front office, this time under Connelly after wooing the former with a lucrative contract after a well-deserved nine-year run with the Denver Nuggets. Connelly has since loaded up with lieutenants, hiring former New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dale Demps and former Orlando Magic executive Matt Lloyd and executive vice president Sachin Gupta to retain.

Connelly refers to himself as “a scout at heart with a lofty title,” but Wolves have stepped up this summer and will go a long way toward shaping his legacy hereafter. Was in seventh place. Western Conference this season. With the 41st overall selection in the second round for the Nuggets in 2014, Connelly guided the franchise-changing selection of Serbian center Nikola Jokic – now a two-time NBA MVP.

Perhaps the most important decision of Connelly’s first year will come after the draft, as few No. 19 picks are expected or able to make a significant impact on playoff teams.

Russell is about to enter the final year of his contract, which has a salary cap of over $31 million, and hasn’t established the consistency and credibility the maximum player demands. Russell was benched in the fourth quarter in favor of Jordan McLaughlin at point guard in the final game of Minnesota’s first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Wolves will also be eligible to give Town the maximum expansion this summer.

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AP Basketball writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

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