Finch: T-Wolves 'fought extremely hard' to keep McDaniels out of Gobert trade
The Minnesota Timberwolves sent a monster package to the Utah Jazz for star big man Rudy Gobert this offseason, including three rotation players and five first-round picks.
Wing Jaden McDaniels wasn't part of the trade, however - a decision the Timberwolves say was highly intentional.
"We fought extremely hard to keep Jaden out of the deal," head coach Chris Finch said, according to The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski. "Everybody wants Jaden. We get a lot of phone calls, as you should want a young two-way player with tremendous upside.”
McDaniels moved from prospect to quality rotation piece in 2021-22, his second NBA season. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and a combined 1.5 steals and blocks across 70 games, including 31 starts.
The 21-year-old's size, length, and on-ball defense make him a valuable, switchable defender who doesn't need many shots playing alongside stars Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Finch said at the start of the offseason that McDaniels would need to have a "breakout year" as the Timberwolves seek to build on their first playoff appearance since 2018. The No. 28 pick in the 2020 draft said he's honored the franchise considers him so valuable.
"That is just speaking on the work that I put in, defensively and offensively, and showing the ceiling that I have and continuing to build on that," McDaniels said. "It's crazy to me, really."