I know I may be thinking ahead here, but this is what the Timberwolves may have to do just in case this summer's free agency pursuits turn out to be flops. By flop I mean the team either overpays for an underachiever who had a good season (ex: Memphis and Rudy Gay), or that the team doesn't somehow acquire an impact player (ex: David Lee). With a team trying to get the most value out of Al Jefferson in a trade as possible, there is one option they could use and get more cap space for to get a couple impact players next year, or to try and get one this year.
A trade rumor has been going around in which the Wolves would send Jefferson to the Mavericks for Erick Dampier and his non guarenteed $13 million contract. A move like this would give the team much more cap space for this free agency period assuming Dampier is waived. Kahn could use this extra cap space to go after David Lee, who is asking for around $10 million a year. No offense to Lee, but I have a strong feeling Kahn would find a way to over pay him with around $12-$14 million per year range, thus giving the team very little breathing room for the next year's free agency period.
-Really Glen Taylor? You must know something about Kahn that we don't...
This leads up to my proposed Plan B for the Timberwolves. Take Dampier's Kahntract (no pun intended) and wait. Why wait you ask? Aren't most Timberwolves fans tired of waiting for something to happen? It's been the main theme during Kahn's tenure with the team. This has been the only time where waiting would be a good idea. I know 2011 won't have the LeBrons or the Wades (except Carmelo, who will probably stay in Denver or go to New York), but there are going to be a wider variety of impact players and veterans who know how to win. Depending on how the Wolves round out the last couple spots on the roster they would have approximately have between $13-$17 milion in cap space. This would give the team money for 2 or possibly even 3 decent players that can come in and help us win. Here is a list of notable restricted and unrestricted free agents coming into the 2011 offseason.
- Al Horford, C, Atlanta
- Joakim Noah, C, Chicago
- Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko, Combo G and F, Detroit
- Aaron Brooks, PG, Houston
- Marc Gasol, C, Memphis
- Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, F, Milwaukee
- Corey Brewer, F/G, Minnesota
- Wilson Chandler, F/G, New York
- Jeff Green, PF, OKC
- Spencer Hawes and Thad Young, C and F, Philadelphia
- Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins, PF/C, Boston
- Tyson Chandler, C, Charlotte
- J.J. Barea, PG, Dallas
- Tayshaun Prince, F, Detroit
- Shane Battier and Yao Ming, F and C, Houston
- Michael Redd, G, Milwaukee
- Joel Pryzbilla, C, Portland
- Carl Landry, PF, Sacremento
- Andrei Kirilenko, F, Utah
I left out some players on purpose for multiple reasons. Number one is I only selected players who could became free agents strictly through their contract expiring, which is why I did not list Tim Duncan, Mikael Pietrus, Leandro Barbosa, David West, Carmelo Anthony, Nene, or Mo Williams as potentional additions. My second set of omissions included players who would not fit into Minnesota's future plans (if Rubio ever comes) like Jamal Crawford, Delonte West, Zach Randolph, Tony Parker, or anyone who plays for the Indiana Pacers. Last of all, I eliminated known head cases around the NBA who could instantly poison the locker room. Goodbye J.R. Smith, Kenyon Martin, Sebastian Telfair, Eddy Curry, Marcus Banks, Daequan Cook, and back for an encore....Randolph and West. Glen Davis was close to making this list, but when he is mentally focused on playing professional basketball he is a great contributor to any team despite his odd mannerisms.
Next summer gives the Timberwolves even more options to choose from than this summer. They could bring in a couple of bruisers like Perkins or Pryzbilla to block shots and grab rebounds. There is also the possibility of bringing two forwards who have excellent all around skills and aid in the development of Wesley Johnson and Martell Webster. Tayshaun Prince or Shane Battier would be a great choice in order to get this done, and if we end up trading Rubio we can always go after a J.J. Barea type to back up Jonny Flynn. Any combination of signings will lead to good results. Anything major that is done in this offseason I view as a little more risque even though getting Lee would be nice. I'm a firm believer that the Wolves will become a better team next season with or without Lee, or Thomas, or whoever the hell Kahn's twisted heart desires. It just depends if they would like to be a 45 win team after one more bumpy season, or prowl around in 30 win territory for the next five seasons.
Even though teams in the NBA depend on having 2 or more star players in order to win championships, it can still be done with 4 or 5 good players. The thought of watching Jonny Flynn, Wes Johnson, and Kevin Love all playing together gets me really excited about the future of this team. Besides, we won 15 games last season...meaning there's nowhere to go but up.