Nate Silver is perhaps best known for political forecasting, with his rise to prominence coinciding with correctly predicting presidential elections via the site he founded, FiveThirtyEight.com.
But Silver also dives headlong into sports fairly frequently. Heck, FiveThirtyEight even has an entire section devoted to sports — or at least had, considering the recent announcement of massive layoffs at the site that have put it (and Silver) on an unpredictable future path.
When someone so immersed in data and sports pops up, even casually, with a Minnesota-related sports take, I tend to take notice. And this is what Silver said Saturday night on Twitter:
The context was that the tweet was the second in a string, with the first being Silver lamenting how much the Suns gave up to get Kevin Durant — only to lose in the second round of the playoffs and fire coach Monty Williams.
Patrick Reusse and I talked about it on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.
If the argument is that the Gobert trade, which included four first-round picks leaving Minnesota and heading to Utah along with multiple useful players and pick swaps, was groundbreaking in its scope, I'm not sure I agree.
Plenty of other players have been acquired for similar hauls. Four first-rounders were rumored to be on the table from the Rockets in 2018 as the Wolves were nudged into a Jimmy Butler trade.
The Suns gave up four first-round picks and some very good players for three-plus years of a very expensive and aging Durant. That probably deserves to be in the conversation with all-time bad trades.
But ultimately a lot of discussions of "worst ever" suffer from both hindsight bias and recency bias.
The Gobert trade would look better if Gobert had played better this season and the Wolves had won 50 games like a lot of us (myself included) thought they would.
If Herschel Walker had helped the Vikings win a Super Bowl (spoiler alert: he did not), which was certainly a reasonable hope, that swap would be judged differently as well (though the complaints have withstood the test of time).
Houston Rockets fans might want to shield their eyes when looking back at the Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook trade.
In a world dominated by the sort of objective data Silver craves, judging the worst trade ever will always remain a subjective exercise.
And like arguing about the greatest player of all time, that's what makes the debate fun and worth having.
Here are four other things to know today:
*The Vikings finally traded Za'Darius Smith, so at least he won't have to find short-term housing in the Twin Cities. It will be interesting to find out just how much of his 2023 salary the Vikings will pay on behalf of the Browns, which will also impact how much of the $12.1 million in cap savings they will actually get.
One has to imagine at least some of that cap room — once all the draft picks are signed — will be allotted to some veteran cornerback help in the post-June 1 cutdown world.
*The NBA Draft Lottery drawing is Tuesday, and Wolves fans find themselves in a strange spot again: not having a care in the world.
*It's been a tough run for Philadelphia sports. The Phillies lost the World Series. The Eagles lost the Super Bowl. The 76ers lost in the second round again. The Flyers are, well, they're trying their hardest. That said, the Minnesota equivalents of those teams haven't even BEEN to a championship series since 1991.
*Reusse and I went down a strange but brief Jeff Reboulet rabbit hole on Monday's podcast. I hadn't thought about the former Twins utility infielder in years, but I dug up his career numbers on Baseball Reference.
Poor Jeff was here for a lot of lean years (1992-96), and I don't imagine a lot of players these days stick around for 2,607 career MLB plate appearances and 12 MLB seasons with only 20 career homers. But he could play all over the field and he wasn't an automatic out.