NBA Free Agency

Big Al on the Brink

Things are happening to Al Jefferson. Last night Marc Stein reported that the Wolves were still haggling with Dallas over a possible trade of Big Al for Erick Dampier, or more accurately, Dampier’s huge, non-guaranteed contract.

But because of Dallas’s desire to unload Deshawn Stevenson, Matt Carroll and their significantly less amenable contracts on whomever takes Dampier, this thing is apparently old news.

Today, all the kids are talking about Utah. Here’s what Jerry Zgoda has to say:

A league source told the Star Tribune the Wolves were approaching a deal with the Jazz that would send the remaining three years and $42 million on Jefferson’s contract to Utah for a protected first-round pick from Memphis and another unspecified piece or pieces. The Jazz would use a trade exception from losing free agent Carlos Boozer to Chicago to absorb Jefferson’s salary…That trade also could clear cap room for the team to make additional trades or signings such as that of Ridnour, the former Milwaukee Bucks combo guard who visited the Timberwolves and Target Center last week.

Friends, this is sounding just like a salary dump. Are the Wolves really looking to move Al for next to nothing in order to make room for Luke Ridnour? Is that really the best we can do? I can already envision four games of Al utterly devouring Kevin Love or Michael Beasley or Darko or whoever else the Wolves use to defend him. I realize that its shrewd to enter the season with cap room (as Oklahoma City seems to do every year), but this still feels like an ignoble end for Big Al.  I’m feeling kind of depressed.

On the subject of Beasley, ESPN says that the deal is now official:

“There should be still a tremendous amount of upside there,” Kahn said of Beasley. “We like his versatility and his athleticism. If we do trade Al, he provides some comfort there is some scoring punch in case that occurs.”

Or they could, y’know, try to trade Al for an actual player with a little “scoring punch,” but whatever.

While we’re talking about Beasley, this here’s a nice piece from a few days ago by Oceanary of Canis Hoopus about the whole power forward/small forward debate. As we briefly mentioned the other day, Beasley’s stats are significantly better when he plays the four. Oceanary elaborates on just why that is:

First, Beasley can create some absolutely nightmarish mismatches for other teams as a 4. The kind that….well, that the Timberwolves fell victim to on seemingly a nightly basis last season. Beasley’s a strong shooter with range, with the potential to get even better in that department. He’s also quick and athletic in a way few power forwards in the league are, and can handle the ball well enough to exploit that without needing to run of screens and make constant backdoor cuts. And he’s a master at creating space for himself in isolation situations, whether it be with a first step, a step back, or something more crafty. He is a shouthpaw after all….a lot of people don’t realize how much that can be exploited.

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0 thoughts on “Big Al on the Brink

  1. It’s hard not to feel a little cheated by the lack of anything we’re getting in return for Jefferson, even though I see why the deal makes sense…it opens up opportunities for the other guys on the roster, Jefferson didn’t really work in the Triangle, it gives them financial flexibility, etc. Its just hard when you trade your best guy and you literally don’t get a player in return. Those draft picks aren’t even that good. I am very happy for Jefferson: he gets to play for a winner and the world finally gets to see his tremendous talent.

    The problem with Beasley being better at the four is whether he’ll play there or not for the Wolves. Obviously Love should take up most of the minutes there. I could see Beasley operating well alongside Darko, but…do they slide him up to center to play with Love? Or Love up to 5!? Or move him down to the three (where he’s less effective) and play big? It’s strange that we still seem to have position logjams even after getting rid of Jefferson.

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