The Minnesota meltdown continues, in dribs and drabs, and the framing of the latest Woj Bomb over at ESPN is extremely enjoyable. Just have a nibble from the first three grafs:
Rival executives lobbing calls to Minnesota’s front office on the possibility of trading for four-time All-Star forward Jimmy Butler are getting their inquiries rebuffed, league sources told ESPN.
In the aftermath of Butler’s trade request this week, Minnesota executives are telling teams that Butler’s an elite player and that the franchise intends to keep him, league sources said.
Often that’s an opening message that’s followed with a query on what a prospective trade partner might offer in a hypothetical deal, but that hasn’t been the case in the Timberwolves’ dialogues with teams late this week, sources said.
To recap, by the third paragraph of this piece of NBA reporting, we’re reading a broad-strokes outline of a typical functional conversation between humans about a possible mutually beneficial transaction—and we’re being told that’s definitely not what’s happening over in Minnesota. That’s the meat of it: In Minnesota, Conversations End Fast.
The rest reiterates previous Woj reporting, including Jimmy’s preferred destinations (Clippers, Nets, Knicks) and offers some brief analysis. Essentially the blog exists to get those three paragraphs into people’s brains. And while this is obviously true of all journalism, it is especially true of scoopsters who cover tense situations in quick, intermittent bursts: you just have to read each new post from the the pulleys-and-levers perspective. Who wants this information out there, who are the “league sources” who stand to benefit? In this case: could it be anyone but Minnesota’s president of basketball and meat-grinding operations Tom Thibodeau, or those close to him?
Maybe the Wolves have been offered mere scraps that even Thibodeau wouldn’t mix up with garlic and onion and fennel seed and feed in sausage casing. Maybe these are truly humiliating offers, such that the Wolves only recourse was to say, through a mouthpiece, “We truly believe that we must hold on to our discontented superstar at any cost,” a move which has famously worked out seamlessly in recent NBA history. Or maybe Thibs is the one due to leave town soon. Anyway, this should all end well for everyone involved.