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WATCH: Rudy Gobert punches teammate Kyle Anderson on Minnesota Timberwolves’ sideline, gets sent home

When first-year president of basketball operations Tim Connelly traded five first-round picks plus five players for three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, he couldn’t have envisioned what would transpire next.

Of course Karl-Anthony Towns missing 51 games with a calf injury hasn’t helped, but the Timberwolves stumbling to a worse record than last season wasn’t in the plans. Yet, the Wolves still had a chance to reach the seventh seed (with some help from a Lakers loss) in the Western Conference heading into Sunday afternoon’s matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans in a battle for the eighth seed.

Tensions may have already been high entering a crucial playoff-deciding game, but Gobert took frustration to a new level, which included punching his own teammate during a timeout, going after nine-year NBA veteran Kyle Anderson.

It’s clear Anderson and Gobert are passionately discussing something on the sideline, where even a member of the Timberwolves’ staff can be seen attempting to hold the 7-foot-1 center back in an anticipatory effort to restrain what was set to come.

Obviously coach Chris Finch can’t have this occurring on one of the most important days of the year during the regular season finale. Gobert reportedly had to be escorted back to the locker room following the altercation, and he has since been sent home from Target Center.

We’ll see where how the team decides to handle Gobert’s decision from here, with the NBA Play-In games set to take place on Tuesday or Wednesday. Not having emerging backup Naz Reid, who’s out indefinitely with a fractured wrist, doesn’t help matters, either as the Timberwolves work through the rest of their rotation entering postseason play.

Related: NBA playoff predictions: Bracket picks & 2023 Finals champion

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