Veterans’ day: Chad Ford on the Wolves’ plans

Benjamin Polk —  June 6, 2011 — 19 Comments

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(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.

Benjamin Polk

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19 responses to Veterans’ day: Chad Ford on the Wolves’ plans

  1. I wouldn’t be too worried about what Chad Ford posted….honestly if they wanted the 30-35 win total they would be repeating the same mold as years past with McHale running the show only minus one superstar. Mr. Glen Taylor can’t be that clueless…can he?……

  2. lol, did you really include Flynn in the “to build around” category? The players to build around are Love, Beasley & Rubio.

  3. Here’s my take on those trades:

    Pick #2 for Gasol/Iguodala = Good, grade A.
    Pick #2 for Varejao/McGee = Decent, grade B.
    Pick #2 for Favors = Not-so-good and risky, grade C.
    Pick #2 for Granger/Ellis = Really really bad, grade D-

    If we make the Grade A/B trades I think we have a good shot at 35 wins, otherwise no chance.

  4. The Wolves have the pieces to build around (Love, Rubio, Beaz) even Anthony Randoloph and Wes have talent. With the right coaching and play calling, the wolves should get to 30 or so wins based off of that.

    I don’t think the Wolves and Granger or Iguoudala would be a good fit, it would stunt Wes’ chances for playing time and neither of those two are established winners in the league. They need to pick up a veteran or two who knows how to win (if that’s even an option). A point gaurd or shooting gaurd type.

  5. Pick Williams at #2….trade # 20 pick and Beasley,flynn,darko( how ever they could package them up)Try to get a veteran sg and center. Go after Iguoudala or Ellis. Rubio,iguoudala,williams,love,pekovic would be intresting…..or pick Kanter at # 2…then it could be Rubio,wes j,beasley,love,kanter.

  6. I agree with Charles to some degree. I’d like us to pick Williams and ship Beaz, who really frustrated me last season by being a ball hog, getting into bad situations and forcing bad shots. I saw it happen too often to like it. With Rubio, hopefully he will control the ball more than Ridnour did and Flynn didn’t and I don’t think Beaz will fit very well with Rubio. Khan did a nice job getting Beaz really cheap, and he showed he can produce decent numbers, so maybe we can get a little more for him. Darko appeared to be very disinterested. I’d like to see someone else in that position. We tried to revitalize two former 2nd overall picks, and we got fewest wins in the league.

    But we do need some veteran leadership on the floor. I like Iggy, but I’d be less interested in Granger. Favors is yet another PF that we already have a lot of so that wouldn’t be a good trade.

  7. All being all, the whole point of last years rebuild was to create a young nucleus, and we did just that. We were the worst in the league simply because we were the least experienced, they didn’t understand how to close out a game. To splinter the team in a severe way would again break up any potential cohesion that has been created. A smaller fix with a veteran could be great and what pushes this team to contention, but they have the talent already in place.

    All they need is a better Center thats a stopper on defense. Since Love truly does lack in the defensive department, you need to plug that up with a Chandler or Nene. Those are 2 names we really need to take obsessive interest in. Marc Gasol, after his playoff performance, is most likely going to be off the table, but denver is going to have a tough time matching anything the Wolves could sign with Nene.

    After all that, Getting rid or our “Now Back-up” point guards and pushing to get Nash to work with Rubio would be smart, he is a known winner and would be a great mentor to not only rubio, someone that has struggled with confidence the past year but also to the rest of the team. Nash is simply a player’s player, demands respect and never oversteps his position on the team, that is someone, no matter how old, that you would want to help develope a young team.

    Ellis or Iggy would be a great addition, but they would bog down progress with our core. Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t go after either of them, cause we should, but only if the price is right and don’t have to give up to much in return.

    We knew as a small basketball community what was going to be when Kahn signed, hell, he had even made an advertisement stating the near-term future. We knew that it would be a long transition not a quick fix, to change the ecosystem not just the pawns. Let this play out for atleast one more season and if we stay this bad, than crucify the guy, if he actually leads us back to the playoffs, than pay the guy his dues.

    Sorry this was such a long comment, but it really frustrates me to see so much complaining and such lack of loyalty to a team that gave us so much in the past. We aren’t a NYC, Miami or a L.A.so lets do what we do best as Minnesota sports fans, BE PATIENT.

  8. Here we go, this 3-way trade solves all our problems:

    TWolves get:

    Monta Ellis
    Iggy

    Sixers get:

    2012 First round pick from MIN (Utah protected from Al Jefferson deal)
    Jonny Flynn
    Martell Webster
    Michael Beasley

    Warriors get:

    #2 (From MIN)
    #20 (From MIN)
    Marreese Speights
    Andres Nocioni

    Your new TWolves:

    PG: Rubio / Luke Ridnour
    SG: Monta Ellis / Wes Johnson
    SF: Iggy / Wes Johnson
    PF: K-Love / Anthony Randolph / Anthony Tolliver
    C: Darko / Pekovic / Anthony Randolph

    It is ridiculous how awesome this is for us. Iggy is the lockdown perimeter defender and veteran presence we desperately need. He is super versatile and can do it all. He’s a perfect compliment to Rubio.

    Monta is a stud SG that we’ve never had. He can score with the best of them and has the ability to take over games. He also fits in great with Rubio since Ricky facilitates but can’t score.

    This fixes our roster imbalances and creates a true pecking order/rotation. Finally!

    Philly does it because they save a crap ton of money by moving those three guys. Iggy is heavily rumored to be traded. GS does it because they also save money, and get great draft picks. Monta is also rumored to be moved. If you haven’t seen on the web (there are tons of Iggy trade rumors, and more about Monta now that West is onboard): http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=6633355

    Lastly, we have everyone on our roster that is important under contract (except K-Love.) And he’ll surely resign with us when we are running roughshod over the entire league! :-)

  9. I normally hate/avoid trade speculation from us “armchairs” but I like College Wolf’s take on it. That would be tricky to get all involved to agree but it’s a common sense proposal.

  10. Thank you sir, appreciate it!

  11. That deal would be AMAZING, College Wolf, but I really don’t see us getting two top-tier guys (I’ll stretch top-tier to Ellis) for odds and ends and “potential.” Philly especially would be committing fan-interest-suicide with this deal. They have a fun young core, but Iggy held that squad together defensively. Trading him without getting immediate help (in the form of a star) would be a huge step back.

    More importantly, none of our trade options really have much value at this point. Remember how little we gave up for Beasley just last year? I don’t think that he’s improved his stock all that much by scoring inefficiently, not defending at all, and getting hurt for a last-place club. Webster is not going to generate interest given his health concerns and general lack of production last year. Jonny Flynn is intriguing athletically, but objectively, he’s been TERRIBLE so far in his career. The #2 and #20 are both MUCH less valuable this year given the crappiness of the draft class.

    I don’t think there are any reasonable trades to be made that get us a star (though PLEASE GOD let the rumors that we are getting DeRozan from the Raps be true; he’s a much better fit for us than Ellis is and is younger/less injury-prone than Iggy). I think we just have to be prepared to buckle in for the long haul, building through the draft rather than trades/free agency, at least until more of our guys can put together good enough years to actually have trade value.

  12. Hey Lowell,

    If you check the interwebz, Iggy appears to be about as good as gone as can be from Philly. I’ve seen him rumored to go for much less than they are getting from us above. Keep in mind, all the guys we are giving Philly are expiring contracts, so they can just let them go if they want. In the above scenario, they save tens of millions of dollars (especially if they don’t keep our guys), and are nowhere near the luxury tax. They are trying to move Iggy because of financial reasons (team is now for sale too, you know.) I love Iggy, but I don’t think he has much trade value at this point since everyone knows they are trying to dump him. And Iggy is about the absolute best complement to Rubio that we could possibly trade for under any realistic scenario.

    The #2 pick is pretty huge, even in this crappy draft. Speights has some potential. Most importantly, Jerry West talked about moving Monta, and I am seeing trade rumors for him as well. He’s most certainly available.

    Here’s a fun thread over at TWolvesblog if you want to check it out:

    http://twolvesblog.com/forum/minnesota-timberwolves-den/67560-the-ultimate-dream-trade-challenge.html

  13. I agree that both the Sixers and the Warriors are looking to deal, but I just don’t see how the Wolves are an enticing trade partner. Orlando is looking to dangle guys like Jameer Nelson and JRich. The Clippers have Chris Kaman (both a solid player and an expiring contract). The Warriors and Sixers are looking at just swapping Ellis and Iggy. The only piece the Wolves have that is even CLOSE to being in that range of value is the #2 pick. And we’ve seen that most franchises (particularly ones that aren’t completely rebuilding and looking for a new core, which is all of the teams involved in the trade talks besides the Wolves, the Raps, and possibly the Warriors), simply won’t swap a proven guy for just a draft pick, even given the salary help. The Sixers are looking for a near-All-Star guy in exchange for Iggy to help them win NOW. The Wolves just don’t have a guy like that. Even with the price being driven down (which I think is overstated, given that Iggy is probably the third best defender in the NBA behind LBJ and Dwight at the moment), the Wolves can’t offer a deal anywhere near as enticing for an up-and-comer team like the 76ers as other squads can.

    I think the possibility of a swap with the Warriors is far more likely, but to be brutally honest, I would rather have a chance to see what Derrick Williams can do than watch Ellis dominate the ball and take away Rubio’s strengths in the near future.

  14. I love how a majority of commentors are basically banking on the idea of K-Love and Ricky Rubio being our “core”. I love me some Kevin Love… don’t get me wrong. The only two problems I have with him, is his lack of D, and the fact that we never got to see KG and K-Love play together, in their primes.

    But Rubio? Seriously??? This kid couldn’t play in a sub-par Euro league. What makes people think for a second that he could hold his own over here? And people are so quick to jump on Johnny, and say that he has been horrible. Unfortunately, I really can’t disagree with the second part… but you all have a rude awakening coming, if you think that RickRub is going to be an IMPROVEMENT!!! It doesn’t matter WHO we bring in. Be it by free agency, the draft, or time warp… if Rubio is our #1 option at PG, we are screwed!

    You want a trade proposal? Here is one for you:

    Warriors get: GM – David Kahn
    C – Darko Milicic
    PG – Ricky Rubio
    PG – Johnny Flynn
    PF/SF – Michael Beasley
    Owner – Glen Taylor

    Wolves get: PG – Steph Curry
    GM – Jerry West

    With Kahn and Taylor both involved in the trade, I don’t know who pulls the trigger on this one… but seriously, this would be the best thing to happen to the Wolves, since they drafted that lanky HS kid. And no… I don’t mean Ndudi Ebi.

  15. Hahahahaha that’s pretty funny trade. I like it!

    However, not sure about the Rubio haterade. Give the kid a chance please. And I guarantee he’ll be infinitely better than Jonny Dribbles. Granted, that won’t be tough. But still, Rubio will be solid.

  16. Rubio, if I’m not mistaken, ranked 4th overall in the ACB this year in +/-. Kid changes the complexion of the game each and every time he steps out on the court. He helps his team win, and he does it inspite of shooting .300 from the floor and only scoring 6 points a game. Think of this way – how insanely good would he be if he reliably shot .400 (.300 from downtown) and scored 12 ppg? I can tell we’re simply going to disagree on this one.

    As for Love and his defense. By most defensive metrics I’ve seen, Love’s not a bad defender at all. According to basketball-reference, Love was tied with AR for second best defender on the team with a Drtg of 108 (one behind Darko’s team leading 107). Corey posted a 110, FWIW. According to 82games, the team was only .9 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Love was off the court – hardly a damning number for a player. Considering they were 4.4 points better offensively with Love in the game, Love is looking more and more like a legit building block. Basketballprospectus is the only source right now that I can find the suggests Love is a suspect defender. They have him this year allowing opposing players to perform 4% better than their averages (compared to last year holding them to 12% worse), however their Drtg says that Love improved this year from last year (104.6 from 105.5). Given his insane rebounding abilities and the horridness of our perimeter defense, I think saying such things as:
    “The only two problems I have with [Love], is his lack of D, and the fact that we never got to see KG and K-Love play together, in their primes”
    is utterly superficial and self-serving. I’m sorry, but your post, near as I can tell, serves no other purpose than serving as a vehicle to hear yourself talk loudly about Wolves, as if people should care what you have to say.

    Normally I ignore such things, and I apologize for choosing your post as the one to make an example out of, but this type of commentary serves no one in furthering their understanding of basketball, this team, or these players. Great, you have an opinion. Why not do some research and see how your opinion stacks up? At least then you’d know that KG was traded before Love was even drafted. Give a break down of some games or plays you saw of Love, or Rubio, that lead you to question that they’re bums. Simply coming on here and spouting off opinions rooted in nothing, leading us to nothing, is a waste of time…in my opinion.

  17. Northside,MPLS June 15, 2011 at 12:22 am

    OK OK… Let’s b honest with our selves here people the T-Wolves are not a team that is going to get and keep big name players. But we can b a team that puts together a group of team players kinda like the Wolves squad that almost went to the finals. We gotta keep Love, Johnson, N Rubio. Beasly is an option player for us some times when he’s interested in the game he can b almost unstopable n theres the beasly who doesn’t hustle n looks bored on the court. J. flynn n Tolliver n Ellington can all go. Darko is a good back up n Randolph should b a great sixth man 4 us. Now if were gonna keep the #2 pick it’s gotta b to draft kanter he would give us a good inside scorer and a defender. If we look to drade the pick then it’s gotta b to acquire a center that can fill the middle… I think we should consider talkin to L.A. about bynum, G. Oden in portland and how about lookin at c. Kayman or T. Chandler. We need a force in the paint we have able bodies for the perimeter. We could use a veteran point guard to help bring rubio along J. Nelson, S. Nash, just a thought but best believe the T-Wolves are going to b a good team real soon here but WE SHOULD”VE HIRED M> JACKSON AS OUR COACH AND NOT LET HIM GO TO THE WARRIORS!!!!

  18. @biggity2bit: First of all, let me apologize for not reading the fine print that states that this blog is not for “general commenting purposes”. I honestly did not realize that I had a duty to be informational.

    Second, let me congratulate you for coming up with actual statistical backing for your points. I admire your ambition, and appreciate that you pride yourself on not having an unsubstantiated opinion. But are you seriously going to throw around a bunch of Euroleague stats, and tell me that they are directly comparable to the NBA. Rubio averaged 6.5 pts/game, in a league that is, by nature, much less defensively intense. And honestly, I could care less if the kid scores 2 pts a game. If he can keep his assist to TO rate at a respectable level, he doesn’t even need to score. But he plays a very wild and flashy game. Which I personally love. I grew up watching Magic Johnson, and LOVED the way he played. But Magic had a core of veteran guys like Worthy, Scott, Cooper, Divac, Campbell, etc., around him at all times. Guys that knew his game, and could handle most everything he threw at them. And he was already much more polished, by the time he hit the NBA. But for Rubio to come into the league and play that way, with guys he doesn’t know, is just a recipe for disaster. And he is way too cocky to be willing to shelve his “bag of tricks” for a year or two, until he has a chance to gel with his new teammates. If he could, I think he has a chance to be VERY good. I’m not trying to be a Ricky hater… I think the kid has a TON of natural talent, and potential. But his attitude just isn’t right. I mean, he doesn’t even want to be here, in the first place. And because management is working so hard to get him here, they are making it even harder for him to actually be coached. They are just totally pumping up his ego, right now.

    I love my Wolves, and I honestly hope I am wrong. It just bothers me to see everyone swaying their opinion, based on what King Kahn and team PR people tell them.

  19. Larry Brown should be the 2011-12 coach of the T-Wolves.

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