Jim Souhan
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On the occasion of a promising week for Minnesota sports, Midwestern fans should band together and send a message to the national media and rich coastal franchises:

Our teams are not your farm system.

Kirk Cousins is not going to be traded to the New York Jets, even if ESPN decided to create, popularize and hyperbolize that ridiculous rumor. Danielle Hunter shouldn't be traded anywhere; he's a great 28-year-old pass rusher who is healthy and playing exceptionally well.

Karl-Anthony Towns might be traded someday, but if the Timberwolves play well this year, that day may never arrive.

The Twins were never going to trade Sonny Gray or any other vital player at the July deadline while they were in contention.

Too many Minnesotans live under the shadow of the sporting sword of Damocles, fearing that whatever could go wrong, will go wrong, and that includes our best athletes and coaches leaving town at the first opportunity.

Here's a dose of reality: Giannis Antetokounmpo has twice re-signed with the NBA team in Milwaukee rather than test free agency. Anthony Edwards, Towns, Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid have re-signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves instead of testing free agency.

Kevin Garnett never wanted to leave and, in retrospect, should not have been traded. David Ortiz did not want to leave, and should not have been released.

This isn't the 1990s and early 2000s, when the Twins stopped competing and slowly rebuilt by trading veterans to the Yankees.

The Wolves are no longer rebuilding. Whether their trade for Rudy Gobert works out or not, it was a power move designed to position the franchise to compete deep into the playoffs. The Wolves also paid top dollar to lure Tim Connelly, the architect of the Nuggets' championship, away from a great job in Denver.

Despite constant paranoia from Gophers fans, there is only one example in modern history of a Gophers revenue-sport coach leaving Minnesota for a perceived better job: when Brenda Frese left the women's basketball program to go to Maryland.

So why do these Minnesota-Player-to-New York stories get so much play? Because they drive traffic from coastal fans who expect Midwestern teams not to compete, and from Midwest fans who expect their teams to quit.

The Twins have spent big on Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton and signed ace Pablo López to a long-term deal. They didn't make those moves so they could help the Yankees win the East. Twins boss Derek Falvey, who grew up in Lynn, Mass., just turned down a chance to become the Red Sox general manager, a dream job for every New England kid.

None of the worries about P.J. Fleck using the Gophers as a stepping stone have proved to be based in reality, and no Minnesota sports franchise has moved or been contracted since Norm Green embarrassed himself so much that he allowed himself to be duped into moving to Dallas.

Napheesa Collier, Kayla McBride, Kirill Kaprizov and T.J. Hockenson signed long-term deals, and it's hard to imagine the Vikings not signing Justin Jefferson to a record-breaking deal.

Cheryl Reeve, the coach of the historically dominant USA women's basketball team, runs the local WNBA team, has won four titles, dragged a flawed team to the playoffs last season and has never tried to leave town.

In the '90s, I was friends with a baseball writer from the New York Post. He had one standing order from his boss: ask every promising player from every other franchise if they want to play for the Yankees.

That is the East Coast Elite mindset, and it's a long-running and cynical scam.

So enjoy the week, Minnesotans. Your NFL team is in contention. Gophers football just won at Iowa for the first time since 1999. The Wolves (despite a lousy performance Wednesday) have perhaps their best roster in franchise history. The Twins won a playoff series. The Wild will again be a playoff team. The Minnesota Aurora are one of the great stories in our state's history. The Gophers hockey teams are exciting. And the Lynx have found their star in Collier.

ESPN executives again have made the idiotic mistake of thinking Minnesota is a farm system because, when you fly over, you can see a few farms.