2013 Offseason, Transactions

Exit Brandon Roy

Pretty much immediately upon assuming office as Timberwolves’ President of Basketball Ops, Flip Saunders excised David Kahn’s final boondoggle. As should probably have happened halfway through last season, Brandon Roy has been waved. Here’s Flip waxing sentimental on the end of the Brandon Roy era: “We wish Brandon and his family all the best in the future.” Your desk should be cleaned out by 5:00, please. Also, we hope you enjoy this nice watch (and the $5 million you made last year).

Kahn has a few majestic failures to his name, but most of his moves were mediocrities of this sort. Easily defensible moves with relatively low risk that simply didn’t pan out. Many of these shone with Kahn’s signature grandiose faux-humility, which made it easy to relish their failure–thinking here of the Beasley and Anthony Randolph trades and the Darko experiment. But the Brandon Roy story was sadder and more poignant. Roy is an incredibly good basketball player who, at 28-years-old, would be in the heart of his prime right now if he had any cartilage left in his knees. Kahn’s gamble would have paid off if Roy would have been able to access even a shred of the talent his body surely still possesses. But he couldn’t. His stat line from last year is almost cruel: Five games; 5.8 points; 4.6 assists; 2.8 rebounds in 24.4 minutes per game. Brandon Roy deserves better.


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19 thoughts on “Exit Brandon Roy

  1. I’m not the sort of person who is normally very impressed by buzzer-beating heaves, but Roy’s famous game-winning three against Houston is the most beautiful shot I’ve ever seen. Its trajectory is just so damn perfect that it makes me want to be a geometer.

  2. It’s too bad. On another note, his release led to a lot of “durr why didn’t we trade his contract for a team in need of cap space Flip is so dumb” comments. Weird they forget how well that worked out last year with Brad Miller or how dumb it’d be to take back bad $ when they want to clear salary to re-sign their own guys.

  3. He had everything you wanted in a shooting guard; size, athleticism, handles, could create his own shoot, range, clutch factor… Just when he was starting to be a superstar player, his knees gave way. Sucks!

  4. Amazing basketball player. too bad he didn’t continue doing what he was known for the T-Wolves. But here’s my question, with the the release of Roy and receiving some of that cap salary back, who are we going to go for now? O.J. Mayo has been mentioned, and I’m hearing that with Minnesota’s interest with Mayo that could possibly make Pekovic leave because MN wants to keep K.Love and Rubio long term… are we that bad at shooting that we have to give up pretty good talent?

  5. I don’t think logical speculation can happen until the draft is over. They’ll likely end up choosing between a big and a 2 w their early pick and trading their 2nd #1, so that will give some clues.

  6. Flip made a comment that the team needed more shooters recently. I have been thinking about it and I agree. Right now the T-wolves have Pekovic, Rubio, and Ak-47 in the starting line up none of whom are very good outside shooters. Ak-47 shot less then 30% from 3 point range this year which is especially frutstrating with the number of wide open 3s that Rubio got players and the collapsing of the paint on Pekovic. Imagine if at the 2 and 3 spot the T-wolves had shooters that could hit at least 38% (40%+ would be great) of their 3s. The T-wolves may give up some in defense,but I think the Wolves should utilize Kevin Love’s ability to stretch defenses and Ricky ability to create open shots.

    What I would like to see is 2-3 outside shooters in addition to Kevin Love. Ak-47 for 10 million is too much at age 32 and does not really fit their shooting needs so I say waive/amnesty him if it can save cap. I am not totally sold on OJ Mayo who did hit over 40% this year but the last few years before that was 35%-38% range on 3s. He might be the best available option. I am not sure what the T-wolves will get in the draft, but 2s and 3s that can shoot would be great.

    The T-wolves could go small ball against teams that did not have a low post threat. Imagine Rubio, KLove and 3 shooters? The t-wolves might give it up alot more points, but seriously Kevin Love has a very nice skill set for an offensive oriented team so I say go for that.

  7. Was there a reason Flip did this now as opposed to waiting and potentially using his non-guaranteed deal as a trade chip? Just wondering if that was a legitimate option, or if Flip just wanted to get his deal off the cap.

  8. Any draft posts coming in the near future? Or are you waiting for the lottery before starting to speculate?

  9. Kyle: my first comment addresses that. In short, it’s not a trade chip (those deals don’t happen as often and they probably would’ve used it by the trade deadline if it was one), they had 2 similar contracts last summer and had to give up 2 #2s to get rid of them (for Miller), and a team with their free agency and cap situation needs cap space more than they need a mediocre player with a bad contract.

    As for Flip’s comments, whether AK returns is ultimately up to AK. If he wants to opt in, they’ll be happy to have him because no one available can replace his production. Several playoff teams featured starting lineups w 2 or fewer 35%+ 3 pt threats (OKC, Denver, Clippers, Lakers, Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Boston) because they had useful bench players who could shoot 3s that they mix in. They need to keep their starting-caliber players ($10 million is what AK deserves to make) and fix the shooting issues by fortifying the holes in their lineup (SG) and off the bench. Also, the guys who are for sure going to be on the team need to improve their 3 point shooting.

  10. gjk-the players we have traded in the past weren’t fully un-guaranteed like Roy and we needed to trade them to get their full cap space. We didn’t need to trade Roy for cap space because his deal was fully un-guaranteed, meaning we could just cut him and get all of that cap space. The guaranteed money Miller had, for example, was about the same cost as a second round pick, hence why the second round picks were included. There are plenty of teams that could use a D Will or Luke or JJ and adding Roy’s un-guaranteed to those deals lets us bring back hopefully a better, but more expensive player. For example, we could have thrown in his deal with a couple others to bring in a more defensive minded, rim protecting big. Then we eliminate the need to re-sign Pek at a big deal. I’m not saying that’s what we should have done, I’m just saying that there was plenty of flexibility that keeping his fully non-guaranteed deal would have given us going into negotiations this summer if we could have held off cutting him until we absolutely had to in order to use his cap space on our players. You always want flexibility and options when building a team and I think we got rid of a legitimate option. Again, that’s why I asked if there was a timetable we had to cut him by because it doesn’t make sense to do so unless you had to because of a hard date or there was just nothing out there you could get that would involve trading him.

  11. Fair enough. I focused on one part of what ended up being a bigger argument. His contract probably had less value then you think, though; if it really had decent value, why wasn’t he traded at the deadline when they desperately needed bodies? I don’t think they want to be attached to any big money for a bench player, which is inevitably what gets moved in these types of deals (Corey Maggette for Ben Gordon being a prime example). They’re not getting a team to give up a starting big for one of their reserves and Roy’s salary relief, and they don’t have a big expiring to justify a deal for Pau Gasol.

    It just seems like they want no salary obligations replacing Roy because they need as much as possible to keep their own players, add 1-2 draft picks, and be able to pay Love, Rubio, Pek, and AK (or equivalent players) as far as they can into the future without paying the luxury tax.

    1. It just seems like they want no salary obligations replacing Roy because they need as much as possible to keep their own players, add 1-2 draft picks, and be able to pay Love, Rubio, Pek, and AK (or equivalent players) as far as they can into the future without paying the luxury tax.

      I think that’s it exactly.

  12. I would rather get players that fit better together because as it stands now the T-wolves are a mish mash of players without an identity really. The teams that you listed have identities more or less. I think since the T-wolves have an offensive oriented superstar that offense should be their identity. So lets actually get starters that fit together through free agency or the draft. Also AK-47 at 32 years old playing as many games as he did this past season is not worth 10 million.

  13. They have an identity: dominate the boards, play good defense without fouling, share the ball, and draw as many fouls on the opponent as possible. It just didn’t work because their best scorer and rebounder played 18 games and their shooters were collectively awful and underperformed behind the arc.

    As for AK, he’s worth what they pay him, even if he only plays that many games; he was their 2nd-most-valuable player last year (I put him behind Pek only because of how much scoring was needed from him). KG got that much last year for playing 12 fewer minutes, and AK was roughly as productive as him (KG had more rebounds, AK shot a higher % with more steals and made FTs). They had a .400 win% with him and a .278% without him, which is basically the difference between being Portland or being the 3rd-worst team in the league (ahead of only Orlando and Charlotte).

  14. I disagree the T-wolves are not a good defensive ballclub when they have all their pieces available. K-Love is not a very good defender, their shooting guard was woeful defensively, and Pek is only an adequate defender. If Pek was more like Marc Gasol defensively then the Wolves could try to copy the Memphis Grizzly model a bit and get a good defensive 2, but since Pek is not a great help defender the wolves would lack that interior help defender and be stuck not being a really good defensive team and being a poor offensive team if they went that route.

    The Wolves have the ability with K-Love, Rubio creating opportunities, and Pek to become a high caliber offensive team, but they need more shooters desparetly to do so so I say go that route and try to become more of a high scorer group.

    10 million can get a really good player in their prime. Just look around at the caliber of players getting 10 million a year or if the Wolves broke that up and paid 2 players 5 million or etc. There is a perception that the T-wolves have a lot of difficulty getting good Free Agents to come here which may very well be true, but who knows perhaps Flip will have more success getting FAs to come to Minnesota.

  15. Their defensive rating in the 18 games Love played was 104.7 (points allowed per 100 possessions), which would’ve been good for 10th in the league and was better than what it was without him. As for Pek, he will never be a great shotblocker, but he helps well, and he plays much better post up defense than a skinnier guy like Tyson Chandler or Larry Sanders can.

    AK leaving wouldn’t generate $10 million in cap space unless Pek is gone without a replacement. If Pek and Budinger re-sign and they don’t just give away all 4 of their draft picks for future considerations, they’d probably be around mid-level exception range (or below it), and they’d have the MLE if AK stayed because they’d then be over the cap and could use it.

    Getting good $10 million players isn’t easy. The only ones available are overpaid by 30% or more, and FA isn’t an option in that way. People who say those guys are available are never able to produce a list. If you really want shooters on this team, start by clearing the bench of any wing or smaller 4 who can’t hit 35% of his 3s. That means saying goodbye to Gelabale, Lee, DC, Shved, Luke, and maybe Williams while keeping JJ, the guy everyone loves to hate. I’d much rather do that than replace AK with Korver (someone who lots of teams will probably go after this summer) or an even worse player (like Martell Webster). It is so much easier/cheaper to draft and develop a late 1st or second round guy as a 3 point shooter off the bench than it is to replace a player as good as AK.

    Finally, everyone focuses on 3 point shooting hurting their offense while forgetting an equally big problem: they were 26th in the league in FG% close to the rim. We all saw how many layups they missed during the season, and they only had 2 guys (Dante and AK) getting regular minutes who shot above the league average (64.5%).

  16. JJ Barea hit less then 35% of his threes and shoots less then 35% of his threes in hs career. I concur a lot of the players that you list should go of course contracts limit things, but Luke, JJ, Lee, Gelabale all should be looked at. Shved might improve, but whatever the coaches think about him they know best on that score. DC is a defensive role player off the bench who plays the same position as Dwill and Kevin Love so how many minutes are all those guys going to get? It is not a foregone conclusion that Pek will be back or Budinger for that matter.

    A big reason for the low 2 point percentages is the Twolves can not hit an outside shot so other teams pack the paint and the Twolves not getting a lot of easy buckets in transition which is another whole story. 10 million for 32+ year old players is a lot of money. That could net the T-wolves a quality 2 and 3. I bet you AK47 plays only 55 games next year or less and is less effective then he was this year – at some point players degrade.

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