FanPost

If I were the GM



I always enjoy a round (or several) of pretend off-season planning beginning around this time. Recently, the true crux of a Wolves off-season dealt with evaluating the top draft prospects, but thankfully we're out of the range of top 5 type picks and appear to have identified a core of 3 players from which we can build around. While the days of top 5 picks are hopefully gone for the foreseeable future, we've still got some assets that a good GM would/should be able to turn into a very good team...

I know that the idea of "cap space" is appealing on the surface. We can all hope for that big splash that is unlikely to come. What are the chances that Batum would first accept our big contract, and secondly, that Portland wouldn't match. I want no part of Eric Gordon for big money/years. We need to understand that our best way to improve is via trade and that the kind of players we're going to be able to get are going to have at least 1 or 2 warts. A bigger contract, not the right age, not an absolute perfect fit on the court. We need to overlook minor negatives and get some guys who can be productive.

We need to make stuff happen before Martell and Brad Miller's contracts must be dealt with as is nicely laid out here in post #355:

http://www.mnsportsfans.com/forum/showthread.php?t=31035&page=18

In order to free up cap room to trade for a contract like Iggy's (rather than trading the partially-guaranteed deals before they have to be waived on June 30th, in a normal 150% matching deal) you also have to renounce your exceptions (MLE, Biennial, any trade exceptions you happen to hold) and renounce your Bird Rights to your other FA in order to clear the space. You still get to use the new $2.5m "room" exception after you use up your cap space, but beyond that, you're limited to signing minimum salaries for every subsequent signing, even for any of your own FAs that you want to bring back.

Alternately, if you trade matching contracts for the large incoming salary (in this case, just Webster+Wes is actually enough to match Iggy if the trade happens before June 30th), you still get to use the full $5m MLE to sign other guys, AND you can sign your own FAs for whatever you want (subject to Bird Right rules), AND/OR you can send your own FAs to other teams in sign-n-trade deals, to get other players already under contract in exchange.

So IF you're seriously considering a contract like Iggy's (and I certainly hope that the Wolves are considering him specifically, if a package like we're discussing here is even remotely close to getting it done) then it's MASSIVELY preferable to make the deal before you have to clear the cap room to take back his salary.

The Wolves cap number for next year and potential iterations are laid out nicely here:

http://www.canishoopus.com/2012/4/26/2977673/timberwolves-salary-situation

Player

2012/13 Salary

Darko Milicic

$5,228,000

Kevin Love

$12,922,250

Derrick Williams

$4,809,840

Nikola Pekovic

$4,837,200

JJ Barea

$4,493,500

Wesley Johnson

$4,285,560

Luke Ridnour

$4,000,000

Ricky Rubio

$3,741,120

Wayne Ellington

$2,083,042

Malcolm Lee

$762,195

Martell Webster

$5,712,000

Total

$52,874,707

Trade proposal #1

Luke Ridnour and Martell Webster for Kevin Martin.

I'm starting with the the hardest to predict as Houston has a lot of moving pieces this offseason. This deal might be too unlikely, but I'd inquire to see if Houston is prepared to retain Courtney Lee and move on without Martin. Ridnour could interest them as Dragic is going to be tough to retain in FA given all the teams with cap space. I'd prefer to send them Barea, but I think it would take Ridnour to even get in the discussion. This move would add $2,727,675 to the above cap number for 2012.

Trade proposal #2

Derrick Williams, Wes Johnson and Wayne Ellington for Andre Iguodala.

AI is on the outs in Philly and I think the above package would get it done from our end. I view Wes and Wayne as negatives, but Philly is going to need some bodies next year so they may be of use. If Houston would want either player in the deal for Martin we could switch things up. DWill and Martell plus Wayne would also work to Philly. AI would be a great complement to this team with his defense and ball handling. He would be insurance on the ball handling side that we'd need in losing Luke. This deal adds $3,539,808 to the cap number above.

We're now at $59,142,190 for 8 players. Add in a cap hold of $1,237,500 for #18 and we're at $60,379690 (without cap holds and QOs).

We can go a couple of directions here. We can renounce our FAs and amnesty Darko, or we can resign or sign/trade our guys and keep our exceptions like the MLE. I'd prefer to keep our options and pursue a guy like Danny Green or Brandon Rush with some/all of our MLE.

Draft

I've read some say that we don't need anymore rookies, but I think that's very shortsighted. We don't want to be depending on rookies, but the chance to acquire young talent and develop it for the future is a WISE idea for a team like the Wolves. Having a couple of rooks at the end of the bench would by no means hurt our team and it keeps building for that next stage as your vets like Martin and Iguodala would be coming off their contracts.

I'm on the Jae Crowder bandwagon, but I actually want to do more. I'd love the chance to add John Henson as well. Henson is currently at #19 on NBADraft.net. If we were shrewd, we'd snatch him up to be the future athletic defensive big that would complement both Love and Pekovic. I'd offer up the Memphis 1st to any team in the 20s (at least one of these picks are usually available) to get Crowder, who isn't getting much love at this point. If he Crowder starts sneaking up there in the mocks (or if we can't get an early 20s pick), I'd happily take Crowder at #18. At this point though, he's easily available in the 20s.

MLE

By being over the cap, we've still got our MLE. I'd be on Danny Green's doorstep on midnight in FA with an offer. He's young, strong, plays good D and can shoot the 3. Perfect wing to add to Martin/Iguodala. By being first, I think we might have a leg up on the tons of other teams with cap space who might be preoccupied with bigger names (I heard that SA is interested in offering Batum a deal?).

Remaining FA

I'd put a minimum (or biennial) offer out to Greg Stiemsma. He's been productive this year and would offer defense off the bench cheaply. I can't say that I've seen much of him, but his block numbers and WS numbers look decent. Not married to this acquisition and other backup bigs should be considered. We could also make small offers to our own guys. Beasley on the extreme cheap would be o.k. but I think he'll be gone. I'd be o.k. with Tolliver or AR on a cheap deal as well.

Amnesty Darko. While not technically necessary to facilitate this plan it just needs to happen. Glen is paying him one way or the other. We just don't need lazy around this team.


2012-2013 Wolves

PG: Rubio, Barea, Lee, (Iguodala in emergency)

SG: Martin, Green, Barea

SF: Iguodala, Green, Crowder

PF: Love, Beasly/AR/Tolliver?, Henson, Crowder

C: Pek, Steimsma, Henson

We might be a little weak in terms of bench offense in the post. Maybe we do a minor sign/trade of Beasley for a backup PF? Or maybe we just roll with Randolph? We're only at 11-12 players if we bring back Tolliver/AR.

Getting both Martin and AI might be a little too optimistic, but even if we couldn't get Martin, we could go a different route and shed Martell's deal and amnesty Darko and try to get Danny Green and another wing in FA.

Iguodala and Martin might be "overpaid" but I'll overpay for solid a production. Remember, we're not getting that perfect player at this point. We must be willing to overlook a few warts like borderline contracts (only 1 and 2 years left though for those two) and non-ideal age. Even with 2 high priced guys like Iguodala and Martin we're only just barely over the cap and far from tax territory. Martin expires next year in time for Pek's extension. Financially we'd still be a very nice ground.

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