There's been plenty of discussion on whether the Wolves should package their expirings at the deadline for a high salaried player. If not, the goal is cap space this summer, but then who's the target?
Lot's of questions...few answers.
There's a couple things we know for sure:
1. The Wolves have a long way to go towards being a legitmate contender.
2. We've got a nice, but incomplete, collection of younger players on roster.
3. We have several assets going forward.
4. We lack an alpha dog #1 player.
5. Leaguewide finances are tight.
6. An upcoming CBA renegotiation promises some major changes thus making financial flexability important.
How can the Wolves best take advantage?
Maybe by looking to the recent past? In Kahn's short run, what's his best move? In my opinion, the trade for #5 was a homerun. We turned to marginal starters into a nearly untouchable asset at this point. Sure we kind of lucked into Rubio given his financial situation (and we have to wait to realize his value), but the alternative was likely going to be Tyreke Evans, still not shabby.
Instead of calculating how much we're going to have to overpay for Rudy Gay or which big contract we could absorb with our cap room, we should be looking for the next Washington situation. A team that would entertain moving a high lottery pick for a platter we could prepare this year that would be much more intriguing than Foye/Miller.
With the present financial state of the league, the obvious incentive for a team to pass on a lotto pick would be salary relief/financial flexability. Would a team be willing to move back in the draft a bit/take prospects (quality over quantity) to save $10 million plus?
A quick look at a few teams in the presumptive upper lottery:
Indiana- Desperately needs a PG in a draft devoid of lottery prospects should the Pacers miss out on #1. Indy also has the bad contracts of TJ Ford and Mike Dunleavy. We're likely going to have the cap space to absorb either one of those contracts. We'll have the Charlotte and Utah picks, Pekovic's rights, and PG prospects -could go Sessions or Flynn depending on what Indy ends up with in the draft and what contract we take back. A lot would depend on where our pick lands (Wall would make Flynn quite expendable), but assuming we don't move up, would a package of Sessions and our additional picks be enough for Indy's projected #5 pick and TJ Ford's contract?
Philadelphia- They're desperate to unload Dalembert and Brand without a taker. They may manage to get rid of Dalembert if they package him with Iguodala, but if not? Would Philly be willing to trade Dalembert and their pick for cap relief and some combo of our later picks and players?
Both of these deals would put in the mix for Cole Aldrich in addition to our pick while preserving any flexability we might have with a new CBA given the 1 year left for Ford or Dalembert. I'm also making an assumption that it works within the rules for either team to select a player for us and complete the trade during as soon a July 1 rolls around and we clear our cap space. I guess this is a pretty big assumption though? Not sure of the trade rules in this regard.
Golden State- A more extreme option given that the salary we'd be looking at would be Corey Maggette and his 3 years left. His contract would run a full 2 years into a new CBA assuming that there was no lockout. Any lockout would eat into those last 2 years. Maggette's money would be much tougher to swallow; however, there's probably a better chance of it getting done given that they were apparently willing to move A. Randolph to a team willing to take Maggette earlier this year. Maggette is what he is. He doesn't fit the age profile we're looking for, but he's not supposed to. He's the place filler- wing scorer that we'd be willing to take to get the #3 pick(?) in the draft. Maggette is a mercenary. He gets to the line like a madman. His defensive rep is poor, but he pretty much blows Rudy Gay out of the water in advanced offensive stats (although he's not a 3 pt shooter, though neither is Rudy). Maggette and their pick for cap space and our later firsts?
If we stay put at #2 and say GS ends up #4 - We add Turner and Cole Aldrich or Wes Johnson.
There could be other options as well. NJ might be willing to entertain offers if they don't wind up #1. Utah is always cost conscious and AK47 is due to make $17+ million next year...they've got the NYK pick.
I think finances are going to be huge this summer and the Wolves would be wise to take advantage. We need that star and these guys are largely taken in the top 5. Let's try to get another shot at getting lucky.