April 24, 2012; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Former Timberwolf center Al Jefferson (25) is congratulated by Utah teammates and coaches after winning the Wolves the pick he was traded for. The Jazz defeated the Suns 100-88 to clinch a spot in the playoffs and David Kahn is still looking for center help. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
The first of these protected picks was the #20 selection in last year's draft. This pick was used on Donatas Motiejunas, who was then traded, along with Jonny Flynn, to the Houston Rockets for Nikola Mirotic, Chandler Parsons and a 2013 protected (lotto protected until 2016, then the pick turns to cash) first-round pick. Mirotic (the now two-time EuroLeague Rising Star winner) was then moved to the Chicago Bulls for Norris Cole and Malcolm Lee. Chandler Parsons was then traded back to Houston for a conditional 2nd round pick.
The second of these protected picks was lottery protected. In order for it to be conveyed to Our Beloved Puppies, the Utah Jazz had to make the playoffs.
Kosta Koufos was traded for a 2nd round pick.
In short, at this date, Al Jefferson was traded so that Al Jefferson could win the Wolves their pick.
The much longer version is that Al Jefferson, the starting center on the playoff-bound Utah Jazz, was traded for Malcolm Lee, a 1st round pick from a declining team (Houston) that will turn to cash in 2016, and a 2nd round pick.
To be perfectly honest, the biggest mistake/stupid thing I have ever done while maintaining this site was to support the idea that Big Al should be traded. Lesson learned: don't trade above average players. However, my stupidity led to some bad posts and me being wrong about the quality of a piece of entertainment. The guy running the team...not so much.
So, here's hoping that Team Adelman can have enough influence behind the scenes to make use of one of the last rebuilding assets this franchise has access to. In past drafts guys like Ty Lawson or Luke Babbitt (or EuroLeague Rising Stars) have been available with picks just like the one the Wolves will get to use. We all know how that worked out with the POBO. There will be a player in this draft in the 16-30 range and beyond that will be a functional NBA rotation player. The Wolves absolutely need to find that guy. They have a tough assignment. It's their toughest draft assignment to date. They can't get another C, D, or F. They need to ace it.