Posted on: February 22, 2010 11:38 am

Let's Trade Big Al!

The title should read "Let's trade Big Al just because Darko had one good game and immediately demonstrated how much better Kevin Love is with a defensive shot blocker backing him up than an offensively oriented big man" but that wouldn't fit in the title space. Reactionary, yes, but who gives a dip?

1. Timberwolves - Nets - Lakers

In this instance, the Wolves land the #1 pick and New Jersey ends up #2. Ignoring the Wolves lottery curse, this is a plausible scenario given the team records.

  • The Wolves deal #1 and Al Jefferson to the Nets for #2, Brook Lopez and a future 1st.
  • The Nets take their franchise guy in John Wall.
  • The Wolves bank on Rubio/Flynn and grab the best wing in the draft and Brandon Roy clone, Evan Turner. They also have added cap space to sign up to a max contract free agent, such as Rudy Gay. Gay isn’t worth a max contract but they’ll probably have to overpay in order to get Memphis not to match the offer.
  • The Nets then deal Devin Harris to the Lakers for Andrew Bynum and Sasha Vujacic, who’s contract they’d very much like to get of.  


Wolves Future Lineup
PG - Ricky Rubio/Jonny Flynn
SG - Evan Turner
SF - Rudy Gay/Corey Brewer
PF - Kevin Love
C - Brook Lopez

Why the Wolves will do it: They walk away with an extremely well rounded, young and relatively inexpensive roster that will officially become their core to move forward with. A Love-Lopez front court makes a lot of sense and a couple of wings like Turner-Gay are exactly the type that would thrive in an uptempo offense, such as the one they want to initiate with Flynn-Rubio.
Why the Wolves won’t do it: This organization has waited so long to actually luck out in the lottery AND they also have a history of passing on future stars in the draft that there could be a full on mutiny if they let John Wall and the #1 overall pick slip away, regardless of how good Turner looks.

Nets Future Lineup:
PG - John Wall
SG - Courtney Lee/Chris Douglas-Roberts
SF - Terrence Williams/Yi Jianlin
PF - Al Jefferson
C - Andrew Bynum

Why the Nets will do it: It’s a no-brainer on their end. They’ve already made it clear that they’re willing to deal Harris so that’s no big loss. With the Knicks aiming to make a big splash and the possibility of coming off the all-time worst record ever, they’ll look to improve quickly. In this scenario they add two big time young players in Jefferson and Bynum but they also get the face of the franchise and the guy will turn attention away from whatever the Knicks do, John Wall.
Why the Nets won’t do it: They really like Brook Lopez. But seriously, they would do this deal in a second.

Lakers Future Lineup:
PG - Devin Harris/Shannon Brown
SG - Kobe Bryant
SF - Ron Artest/Luke Walton
PF - Lamar Odom
C - Pau Gasol

Why the Lakers will it: Bynum is young and talented but he just seems like the odd man out in LA. He’s also not the most healthy of guys. Mostly, however, there’s just too many other weapons for him to really get into a groove on. He also has some injury concerns. Derek Fisher is done and putting a guard like Harris on the court with Kobe would be incredible. He’d continually be left with favorable matchups and the ability to distribute to a virtual all-star team. They’d have the best starting five in basketball, hands down
Why the Lakers won’t do it: Contrary to this outsider’s opinion, they seem to really value Bynum. They wouldn’t deal him for Kidd a few year’s back but maybe now that they’ve seen his apparent ceiling they’d be willing to throw him out there, especially if he sucks in the playoffs. Also, Harris isn’t exactly Mr. Durable either.

That's it.

Posted on: January 15, 2010 12:25 pm

Why Not Just Propose A DetailedTrade Scenario?

Minnesota - Chicago - New Orleans
*** Note, this trade works under NBA salary rules.

New Orleans
Gives: Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor, David West
Gets: Al Jefferson, Jonny Flynn, Joakim Noah, Jerome James, Mark Blount, Chicago 1st Round Pick

Gives: Joakim Noah, Jerome James, 1st Round Pick
Gets: David West, Emeka Okafor

Gives: Al Jefferson, Jonny Flynn, Mark Blount
Gets: Chris Paul

Think about it. Dynamic.

New Orleans Rationale: 
It's all based around the rumors that New Orleans is willing to blow everything up in order to shed money. Fans and rubes won't like this in much the same way Memphis fans probably didn't like it when they gave Pau Gasol away, but sometimes the reality of the situation is not always a pleasant reality. It's important to note, this premise isn't an obscure interweb rumor, it's fairly substantiated. The organization is hemorrhaging money. In fact, they pretty much started doing so about five minutes after arriving in New Orleans. They don't want to trade Paul but realize that he would never stand for the team trading every ounce of talent around him. So the Hornets unload the ridiculous Okafor contract, which they started regretting about five minutes after offering it, and West, who is talented but overpaid and at the ripe old age of 30 probably isn’t part of the long term rebuilding plan. After this deal the only insane contract they have left is Stojakovic and they can stomach that for a year. The silver lining in all of this is that they get some really nice young pieces in return, which is a rarity in today’s salary dump deals. Al Jefferson actually makes about the same money as West. He’s an all around upgrade over West, talent-wise, and is six years younger. It gives them a dominant low post threat to build around and a signal to fans that they aren’t just quitting. Then they get two young building blocks in Jonny Flynn and Joakim Noah, two players that resemble what they are losing in a way but for a fraction of the cost. Throw in a 1st<sup> </sup>Round Pick from Chicago and two big expiring contracts in Jerome James and Mark Blount and the Hornets can’t let this one pass. 
New Orleans Post Trade Line Up:
PG - Jonny Flynn
SG - Peja Stojakovic
SF - James Posey
PF - Al Jefferson
C - Joakim Noah
Key Reserves: Morris Peterson, Julian Wright, Marcus Thornton

New Orleans Outcome:
Pros - Shed big contracts, cap/free agency flexibility, three talented players under the age of 25, multiple future 1<sup>st</sup> Round Picks
Cons - lose top 3 PG in league, piss off fanbase

Chicago Rationale:
The Bulls have started this season in sucky fashion after putting up one of the best playoff series in NBA history last year. They also appear to be on the brink of firing their coach (a big mistake in my opinion). They have some nice players but are clearly feeling the loss of Ben Gordon. Derrick Rose is already publicly lamenting the absence of help around him. This is all troubling because I don’t think Chicago has any interest in rebuilding, yet they don’t have the talent on hand necessary to be a top flight team in the East. So, if they could give up some promising youth in order to add a stud or two, I believe they’d do it in a heart beat. To me, Chicago is the biggest no brainer in this three-way. They give up the skilled, yet emotionally unstable center in Noah, a sizeable expiring in James and a 1st Round Pick for two players that would give them a front court that could contend with any team in the East. Sure, they add a bunch of payroll, but what does a big market like Chicago care about payroll? Plus, they keep Brad Miller’s enormous expiring.

Chicago Post Trade Line Up:
PG - Derrick Rose
SG - John Salmons
SF - Luol Deng
PF - David West
C - Emeka Okafor
Key Reserves: Kirk Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas, James Johnson

Chicago Outcome:
Pros: add two big time front court player, both of which are better than the one they give up, make a statement that they are a legit contender.
Cons: give up some cap flexibility and potential

The Wolves give up a lot. They also get a lot. Al Jefferson and Jonny Flynn are two of the team’s key features. Mark Blount’s expiring contract is going to clear the space for them to land a big time free agent in the 2010 free agency bonanza. Despite those things, they still do this deal. Chris Paul is in the elite class of point guards in the league. He’s also the star that would put fans back in Target Center. They’d probably play slightly better ball this year but would ultimately be set up better for the future. They’d still have enough money to be a player in free agency because Paul’s contract is only slightly more than Flynn and Jefferson’s combined contracts. They’d still have a lottery pick in the 2010 draft in addition to a possible two additional 1st Rounders from Charlotte and Utah. On top of everything, the Rubio card remains in play. Last but not least, I tend to believe that to potential free agents the allure of playing with Paul/Love is more enticing  than Jefferson/Love

Minnesota Post Trade Line Up:
PG - Chris Paul
SG - Corey Brewer
SF - Ryan Gomes
PF - Kevin Love
C - Ryan Hollins
Key Reserves: Wayne Ellington, Ramon Sessions, Damien Wilkins

Minnesota Outcome:
Pros: add a star point guard and franchise face, sell tickets while reinvigorating fanbase
Cons: put all of eggs in one basket, so to speak, investing much of youth and flexibility they have spent years accumulating

So basically, make this happen, executives.

Do you agree?

Posted on: July 21, 2009 12:05 am
Edited on: July 21, 2009 12:18 am

Wolves Update

Mandatory Rubio Allotment
David Kahn is currently in Spain doing God knows what to convince DKV to free Rubio. For that to happen they'll need to lower their buyout demands. I continue to predict, as I have all along, that Ricky Rubio will play for the Timberwolves this season. I base this prediction on info I've pulled from various sources that has successfully passed my common sense filter. A week or so ago Chad Ford (ESPN toolbox/douche bag hybrid) had to swallow his pride and go back on all of his erroneous 'Rubio wants to play in New York' reporting and break the verified news that Rubio's camp has no problem whatsoever playing in Minnesota. In fact, they were very open to the idea. The problem from the beginning was that when Rubio fell to #5 he lost out on contract money that would have helped with the buyout.

The course of events over the past two weeks has made it look increasingly clear that Rubio is on his way. First, Dan Fegan, Rubio's agent, flew to Las Vegas to meet with Kahn and Glen Taylor. Then Kahn announced he was flying to Spain to meet with Rubio and his people. Then Rubio dropped his lawsuit against his Spainish team, DKV (this was a stipulation before they would agree to negotiate his buyout). You could even look at today's trade of Sebastian Telfair as further evidence the Timberwolves are clearing a path for the kid's arrival.

The word is Kahn went to Spain loaded with creative "solutions" in order to accelerate the process. One such solution is the Timberwolves organization becoming long term business affiliates with DKV. This would be in the form of publicity, annual scrimmages, off-season camps and other money generating arrangements. In theory, this partnership would effectively be worth a few million dollars and placate DKV enough to lower Rubio's buyout and at the same time get by the NBA's limit on buyout money, which is a measley $500,000. Now before visions of Joe Smith dance into your head, rest assured that this is totally legal and has been done before. The Houston Rockets, for example, poured all sorts of money into Yao Ming's Chinese team in a similar fashion.

One theory I like is centered around the drafting of 2nd round pick, Henk Norel. Who, you ask? Exactly. He's some marginal talent who shockingly no draft expert had going in the actual draft this year. Yet the Wolves mysteriously took him in the 2nd round. During the McHale era one could have simply shrugged this off as another McHale blunder but what we're coming to realize in the current era is that Kahn actually plots and schemes and plans stuff out in advance. A novel concept. Norel happens to also play for DKV and is a good friend of Rubio. Not only could the prospect of playing with a friend ease the transition to the NBA for an 18 year old kid but the Wolves could also buyout Norel for the max $500,000 although he's probably worth more like $500. That way DKV gets a cool million towards the buyout effort even though the money technically came from two different buyouts. Stay tuned.

Coach Search
Still ongoing. Rumors have the pool down to former point guard and current analyst, Mark Jackson (makes sense because of his connections to Kahn when they were both with Indiana and hiring a former PG to mentor Rubio and Flynn would be ideal), current Rockets assistant Elston Turner who is partially credited for Houston's potent offense, and current Lakers assistant Kurt Rambis (check it - http://thesportshernia.typepad.com/

Summer League
Four relevant players partook in this year's Summer League for the Wolves, Jonny Flynn, Wayne Ellington, Corey Brewer and Oleksy Pecherov. Flynn was incredible. Faster than anyone on the court. Great vision. Under the Foye/Cassell years at PG I forgot how awesome a true point guard is. They put a mic on him one game and the rumors of his oncourt leadership appear to be completely true. Most impressively, he not only got to the rim at will but also displayed the strength to take contact and finish. His physical appearance and movement on the court reminds me of Chris Paul. Wayne Ellington was shakey to start but calmed down and did exactly what the Wolves need him to do: score. He can flat out shoot and I saw him getting a lot of praise from league execs in interviews. Brewer was a trainwreck in three of the games, didn't play in one and looked really good in the finale. It was his first basketball since tearing his ACL so you've got to cut him some slack, but he showed enougn to confirm my suspicions: the team won't be able to count on him for anything heading into this year. Anything they get from Brewer will be a bonus. Pecherov is a legit 7 footer with a legit 3 point shot. I don't know if he's much of a post player but he can definitely shoot and that should be a nice compliment to the down low games of Jefferson and Love.

Other Summer League news: Blake Griffin was a manchild. Simply dominant. Brandon Jennings was better than expected. Tyreke Evans was a mini-Blake Griffin. Stephen Curry averaged 33 minutes a game and shot 33% from the field. Yikes. Hasheem Thabeet was every bit as akward and weak as his detractors predicted he would be. James Harden was forgettable. Non rookie, Anthony Randolph (27 PPG, 9 REBS, 3 BLKS) was freakishly good. Calm yourself, Randy Foye won Vegas Summer League MVP one year.

Jefferson's Injury
By all reports he is well ahead of schedule and expected to be fully ready to go at the start of training camp.

Clippers Trade

As you've probably heard, the Wolves traded Craig Smith, Sebastian Telfair and Mark Madsen to the Clippers for Quentin Richardson. In terms of cap room, the Wolves won. In terms of likability, the Clippers won in a landslide. This move is all about money. The Wolves will shave another 3 million off their total salary next, making them a stronger player in free agency. Reports that the Wolve have found their future shooting guard with this trade are dead wrong. He'll get minutes because by default they only have one other 2 guard on roster but I'll be stunned if he survives on this team past the trade deadline. Q-Rich Fun Fact: Over the last month he has been traded three times (New York to Memphis, Memphis to LA, LA to Minnesota).

On the real, Smith, Telfair and Mad Dog are by all accounts cool guys. Telfair, in particular, seems like grounded person and I believe will have a long career in the NBA. I hope to see Madsen on the bench wearing a suit as an assistant the second he retires. As a fan, I appreciate their time on this team.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com