(Photo by Tracy Viera)
The current Wolves’ party line is that they’re hanging on to that second pick. (Tony Ronzone sez: “We really like where we’re at at two.”) And this makes sense; you certainly don’t want to give the impression that the team is desperate for a deal, that the pick could be easily had.
But that don’t stop the chatter. At ESPN, Chad Ford has a pretty interesting take on just why the Wolves are still likely to make a move:
If the Wolves can’t show significant improvement on the court in what is essentially Year 4 of their rebuilding project, not only may Kahn lose his job, but they run the risk of losing Kevin Love…The challenge now is to fill the team with enough veterans to give it a fighting chance of winning 30 to 35 games next season.
But see, this worries me. Look at the Sam Presti model for rebuilding a team on a shoestring. For the most part, you acquire young players on rookie contracts (Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka etc). When you find a true superstar (like, say, Kevin Durant), you pay him like a superstar.
Now lets look at the veteran names Ford is dropping, the guys that will help propel the Wolves into that elite 30-35 win territory: Pau Gasol, Monta Ellis, Anderson Varejao–and you can add to these names the likes of Andre Iguodala and Danny Granger. Do they seem like they fit this mold? (Ford also mentions Derrick Favors and Javale McGee, which are interesting names. But I’m not thinking that these are guys that will automatically double the Wolves’ win total).
As much as it pained me to sit through 65 (million) losses last season, I truly hope this is not how the Wolves are thinking. 35 wins just might save some people’s jobs, but does it actually put the team in a position to be a really competitive playoff team in the coming years (which I think is what we all deeply want)? I’ve increasingly begun to believe that the Wolves’ problem last year was not lack of experience per se, but that the players they’ve chosen to build around (Love excepted)–Beasley, Darko, Flynn–are just not good enough to get them where they want to go. Adding one highly paid veteran to the mix does nothing to alter that balance.