I generally agree with the take that Al Jefferson is a legit center in this league, and that he and Kevin Love represent the best front court the Wolves can field in the next year. But stylistically, I believe the presence of Jefferson locks the Wolves into an identity built around half-court offense and perimeter defense. While I don't believe Kevin Love is as good a player as Jefferson, I think he does give the Wolves more flexibility in choosing an identity. Love would just fit better in a number of systems - including the only one I see Jefferson working in.
With that in mind, I wanted to run through 2 (hopefully plausible) off season scenrios - one with Jefferson as 'the guy' and one without.
The Al Jefferson Team
Trade Miller/Gomes $3M to Washington for Eton Thomas, Songalia and #5
This trade adds $1.5M to Washington's payroll unless they want to include Pecherov, then it is a wash. The savings to Washington comes from not paying $3M for the fifth pick and the $3M from Wolves for buying the pick. Washington does this to save cash and the addition of Miller and Gomes offer two ready to go rotation players for a win now team.
Trade Kevin Love and the #6 pick to Memphis for OJ Mayo and the #2
Would Memphis really do a do-over on last year's draft day blockbuster? I think they might. Love paired with Gasol makes more sense than Gasol/Thabeet. And getting Rubio into Memphis with the 2nd pick might be tricky - let alone working him into a Mayo/Conley back court. I almost inserted Gay into this trade, but I have to think that Mayo is the easier to replace with the #6 with Derozan, Evans, and Curry potentially availabe there. I'm also of the belief that Gay was hurt by having Mayo on the team - they are both shoot happy perimeter players, and much like the Highlander, there can be only one.
This trade gives Memphis a pretty balanced core and they avoid the bust potential in Thabeet and the contract connundrum that Rubio presents:
PG - Conley
SG - Evans/Derozan/Curry
SF - Gay
PF - Love
C - Gasol
The Wolves then Draft
1 - LAC - Griffen
2 - WOLVES - Rubio
3 - OKC - Harden (they take the best sure thing player)
4 - SAC - PG (Curry, Harding, Holliday? My guess is Holliday)
5 - WOLVES - Thabeet
6 - Mem - Evans (or curry or Derozan)
18 - WOLVES - Daye
28 - WOLVES - ???
The new wolves built around Jefferson looks like this:
PG - Rubio/Bassy
SG - Mayo/Foye
SF - Daye/Brewer
PF - Jefferson/Thomas/(Pekovic placeholder)
C - Thabeet/Jefferson/Thomas
Going with Love
Chicago does this because they get the low post scoring center they've always wanted. They could probably still get Mullens at 18 to get front court depth with Ty Thomas and Jefferson. Randy Foye allows them to let Gordon walk and thus not screw up their cap number and they dump Hinrich's salary. On the whole, I think this trade heavily favors the Bulls, even with Jefferson coming off of injury.
Do the Washington trade of Miller/Gomes for Thomas/Songalia and #5
1 - LAC - Griffen
2 - Mem - Thabeet
3 - OKC - Harden
4 - SAC - Holliday (or other PG)
5 - WOLVES - Curry
6 - WOLVES - Evans
16 - WOLVES - Daye
18 - CHI - Mullens
28 WOVLES - ???
The new team built on Love looks like this:
PG - Curry/Hinrich
SG - Evans/Hinrich (all 3 guards get starting minutes by playing 33, 33, and 30 minutes every night)
SF - Daye/Brewer
PF - Love/(Pekovic place holder)
C - Noah/Thomas
Pick/Roll, 3 PT shooting. lots of length, ability to run, good perimeter and interior defense - the only weakness is asking Love or Pekovic to develop a low post offensive game.