Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
All around SB Nation's excellent web of basketball sites, writers will be taking a look at the trade winds for their favorite squads. Here's our thoughts on where the Wolves stand on the swap front.
Are the Wolves a buyer or seller (or both)?
The Wolves are going to have to give something to get something. After a year and a quarter of actually seeing Derrick Williams play pro ball, I don't think that there are too many GMs willing to hand the Wolves the 2/3 wing player or 3rd big they need to be really successful for someone who, to this point, has been a bust.
In this sense, the Wolves are both buyers and sellers, as it will take someone like Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Love, or (maybe) Luke Ridnour to get something done.
If buyer, what are the needs?
Magical doctors, a wing player who can shoot and play both the 2 and the 3 (Chase Budinger), and a functional 3rd big.
In theory, the Wolves have everything they need on the roster. In practice, not having Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee, Josh Howard, and Chase Budinger available, and not getting anything from Lou Amundson and Greg Stiemsma has been hampering the team in a big way. For the most part, they're getting big chunks of excellent production from a bunch of players (9 guys are within 5% or over .100 wp48) but if you break things down, you will find that they have a bunch of facilitating players who are either point(ish) guards or power forwards. AK can play the small forward (well) but that's about it. They need wing players who can actually step on the court. They need a 3rd big who can actually play well.
What specific players should the Wolves target?
I don't have a good answer here. I think they'd be insane to move Pek and they can't really afford to throw in JJ Barea or Luke Ridnour because of the Malcolm Lee injury, soooooooooo...I have no clue who they should be targeting. Maybe a team like Detroit is ready to move on from Tayshaun Prince. Maybe Portland wants to do something with Luke Babbitt or Will Barton. Maybe the Bulls want to move Jimmy Butler. Maybe the Cavs want to do something with Omri Cassipi and/or Alonzo Gee. Utah isn't exactly doing a lot with Jeremy Evans. Who knows? What I'm pretty sure of is that the Wolves really don't have much to offer without either chipping away at their core or players who are, because of injuries, kind of not expendable.
What are the objectives in potential moves?
Not getting rid of Pek or Love unless it's a haul.
What players are available?
Derrick Williams and Derrick Williams and Derrick Williams. Again, the Wolves' entire approach to trades should be either to garner a haul that brings them two above average players (one on the wing, one in the frontcourt) for a trade involving Williams + a core player, or they should call every team in the league and see what the best Williams-only offer has to, um, offer.
What are your top three trade ideas?
1- Derrick Williams for a toaster.
2- Derrick Williams for a piggy bank.
3- Derrick Williams for a folding chair.
You know, Derrick Williams was, is, and will never be the problem. He's not a bad player or a bad guy. He is who he is. The problem with Derrick Williams isn't Derrick Williams. It's a team who decided to use the top pick in team history on a player who plays the same position as their best player...who also happens to be the best player at that position in the league (although, this year is putting some doubt into that idea and not because of the Woj article).
With that in mind, I'm not going to talk about Derrick Williams' play again or even joke about it, as it really isn't fair. Players are who they are and the front office is the group of people who deserve scrutiny. Sooooooooo...
Derrick Williams needs to be included in a trade proposal for a functional wing player and/or 3rd big. That's the baseline of any move that should happen.
Anything on top of that baseline is kind of tricky to navigate. I have two competing thoughts about what happens next: 1- The front office still employs David Kahn and, 2- Nothing should be taken off the table because one way or another, this team is dealing with a 2-year window of opportunity.
One way or another Kevin Love is walking out that door in 2 years. Derrick Williams isn't the centerpiece they'd hoped for. AK doesn't have enough left in the tank to take it beyond 2 years (at least not without any huge injury worries). Pek is Pek. Ricky is Ricky. Shved looks like he has some promise.
Is there a way to thread this needle? I don't know. I certainly would entertain big-package deals with someone like Cleveland (Varejao and Gee) or Denver (McGee and Iggy), but I'd be much more willing to see them try and tinker with a smaller Williams-based proposal for someone like Jimmy Butler, Alonzo Gee, JJ Redick, Jared Dudley, or Luke Babbitt (or someone along those lines) while waiting (and hoping) for a fully healthy top 8 of Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved, Andrei Kirilenko, Chase Budinger, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Luke/JJ, and Dante Cunningham. They have a lot of really good players on this team. They just need to be healthy and they need to replace the minutes of Williams and Stiemsma. That's the bit. As I have often said, this isn't rocket science.
What say you?
Also, I'm not going to put up a recap of last night's game. I watched the first half of last night's game on my phone and I caught the second half on the radio while packing boxes. It didn't sound good. Feel free to put in some recaps of your own in the comments.