Timberwolves Trade Deadline Bonanza Spectacular Extravaganza!!!

“I.. miss… you…” (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Ah, yes, it’s trade deadline season. The time of year when you stare at your phone, refreshing twitter, trying to wade through the convincing fake accounts and random blather of wannabe Wojnarowskis to suss out what the hell is actually happening in the NBA. It’s the time for clearing cap space, future protected (or unprotected) picks, cash considerations, unfounded rumors and agonizing waiting games for players, their families, coaches, and fans, as the employment statuses of so many people hang in the balance.

We’ve got you covered from the Wolves’ perspective – the whole crew is here for a pre-deadline roundtable. Without further ado…

These very tall and athletically gifted men are on the same team, now. What the hell?  Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In case you missed it, the Sacramento Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins (and Omri Casspi) to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a top-three protected first-round pick in 2017, and a 2017 second-round pick.

I won’t ask for you to merely beat that deal, because it wouldn’t be too difficult; so instead I’ll phrase it like this… If you were in charge of the Wolves, what is the most you would have given up to acquire DeMarcus Cousins? (Note: “Nothing” is an acceptable answer, if you think the KAT-Boogie pairing would be unfeasible in the long term, and you’d rather just pass on the whole thing).

Bill: I would not offer Towns, Wiggins or LaVine. I don’t think anyone would be all that interested in Kris Dunn, Tyus Jones or Nemanja Bjelica. Not having the ability to trade their own 2017 first-round pick essentially eliminated the Wolves’ hopes to acquire Boogie. I’m not saying Thibs would’ve done it, or that Sacramento would’ve picked a package of the Wolves’ first, Ricky Rubio and Shabazz Muhammad, but… who the hell really knows what the Kings would’ve done?

Tim: Any combo of Dunn/Rubio (whoever they preferred between the two), LaVine, and Shabazz. I would have probably parted with a top 5 protected first if convinced well enough. While I can understand why his antics and reported popularity with coaches could hurt his value, I’m a huge Boogie guy. I couldn’t help but picture him next to KAT and Wiggins and get excited. What if a change of scenery, and some winning, is all he needed? I would have been willing to take that chance.

That said, kudos to New Orleans for that highway robbery.

Andy: I lost count of how many times I tweeted out “LaVine & Dunn for Boogie,” or — before the draft — “LaVine & the 5 for Boogie.” The idea of pairing KAT & Cousins (basically the same concept as Anthony Davis & Cousins) while keeping Rubio and Wiggins seemed like a no-brainer to me. The Wolves would’ve had the imminent makings of a bonafide superteam and I think the likelihood of Cousins behaving (relatively) well in a new and improved atmosphere was worth the risks involved. LaVine’s injury made that idea unrealistic.

Lucas: I would’ve built a package around Kris Dunn, Shabazz Muhammad, perhaps Nemanja Bjelica, and a future first, though the structure of this offer is probably heavily based on hindsight. I never seriously considered a Wolves-Kings trade because I didn’t think that the Wolves could offer the best package of assets to obtain Boogie (I guess I was wrong?). The Kings have coveted Rubio for a while, so I think it’s fair to imagine that they probably would have required he be a part of any realistic package that would’ve netted Cousins, but I don’t think I would’ve given him up without getting a point guard in return.  

Patrick: I’d have parted with LaVine, Rubio, and Muhammad, but I would’ve shopped Dunn hard before offering Rubio in that deal. I know this post is (should be?) really about Boogie, but I’m currently struck how much less shiny an object LaVine became IMMEDIATELY after his injury. A similar injury to KAT or Wiggins would’ve been met with similar disappointment, but the league at large would still see them as can’t-miss stars. Not so with LaVine, even though my hot-take is that he’ll probably come back strong and get himself back on the track he appeared to be on since the season started. Anyway, I get how one could defend either position on LaVine’s trade value, or lack thereof. I just I doubt that Vlade and Vivek would have been willing buyers, even if they’d known they’d get the deal they got.

So…Buddy Hield…

Zach: I’d have offered Kris Dunn, Shabazz Muhammad, and a future first. The problem is the first-round pick would be so far in the future (can’t deal 2017 until draft night, same with 2019 because of pick owed to Atlanta) that it likely wouldn’t have even registered with the Kings. Also, neither Dunn nor Bazz remind Vivek of Steph Curry in any way. Nik Stauskas did. Buddy Hield does. But Bazz and Dunn don’t. I don’t think the Wolves would’ve ever been considered by Vivek, so it’s all kind of moot.

In the latest “crazy Dan Fegan and/or Phil Jackson nonsense” department, apparently, the Wolves are considering a Rubio for Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah swap. You don’t have to dignify that specific rumor with a response, if you don’t want to.

But…

The deadline is Thursday at 2 PM Central Time. Is Ricky Rubio still on the team when the Wolves take on the Mavericks at home on Friday night? If you think he’ll get dealt, what landing spot do you see for him?

Bill: I just don’t see a team wanting to add Ricky on the fly. He’s got such a unique game, you’d almost need the offseason just to gear your team around his strengths and weaknesses. He’s Thibs’ most obvious chip, but because the Wolves are so far under the cap, they can make deals taking on salary and acquire assets for doing the favor – there’s really no need to dump Ricky just for the sake of dumping him. It isn’t as if Kris Dunn has been any good, at all, and deserves to be promoted to the starting lineup. I don’t know. I’m just not seeing it.

And please, God, not Derrick Rose. Anyone but Derrick Rose. Vomit.

Tim: I should preface this by saying Twitter makes me somewhat irrational around the deadline (and on draft day). I admittedly read into the tweets (from the good sources) more than I should. So there’s that. That said, I think there’s something to it. Woj is the all-knowing, but David Aldridge reported that talks are real, and he is a plugged in dude in his own right. I don’t think he’ll be dealt, no, but I’m no longer at the point where I’d be shocked if he was.

Andy:  It seems like there is, and there has been, too much smoke for there to be no fire. I think he’ll be moved. I think the ultimate deal will be more complex than just two teams, player(s) for player(s), but I’ll guess the Knicks since that’s what the rumors have been.

Lucas: Despite the rumors flying around, I would still be at least moderately shocked if Rubio were moved prior to the deadline, if only out of denial. That being said, I can somewhat, vaguely, if I squint hard enough see the reasoning behind a Rubio/Rose swap. To be clear, I don’t think it would be a smart move, but if Thibodeau truly doesn’t think that Rubio is a great fit moving forward, trading him and using his salary to sign an interim point guard in free agency makes a little sense. If the Rose/Rubio trade goes down, it would indicate to me that the Wolves are thinking about being rather active this summer, especially if the Wolves acquire a 1st round pick as well (a first round pick would make the trade a little more palatable, but it still wouldn’t taste that good; they Wolves need to obtain a first round pick for me to be even the slightest bit ok with the move). They’d be clearing up as much cap space as possible (remember, they’ll waive Pekovic at some point, too) and would be compiling draft assets in a loaded class, perhaps for making a corresponding move later. However, this move could also be done around the draft and have the same effect. I dislike the idea of Rubio on the Knicks (he’s…not the ideal triangle point guard and the Knicks are a zoo) and I really dislike the idea of Derrick Rose in a Wolves’ jersey.

As for involving Joakim Noah as well, I think that’s clickbait. If Thibs really wanted Noah he would’ve signed him this summer.

Patrick: FAKE NEWS!

Zach:

If Thibs decides to play the part of “seller” at the deadline, who could you see getting traded (other than Ricky, of course)? Do you think the Wolves ought to approach it that way?

Bill: I think a team looking for shooting could do a whole lot worse than Nemanja Bjelica and/or Brandon Rush. I mean, I’m talking about small deals, like future seconds for both. Sometimes, playoff teams want to round out their rotations with shooters. Why not dangle them and see what you can get in return?

Tim: Bazz is the easy answer. He brings in extra value and is going to be getting paid this summer. Getting rid of his deal now relieves Thibs of the burden of having to choose to keep or hold onto a decent bench piece.

Andy: If we assume a Ricky deal does happen, then it wouldn’t shock me if either Bazz or Bjelica were also included in the deal. With Bazz it would be a sweetener, and with Bjelica it would be the Wolves ditching a little more salary. I think Pek will go through the waiver and “career-ending injury” exclusion process soon, and because the Wolves are the only team that can exercise that option, I do not expect him to be traded.

Lucas: I could see Shabazz Muhammad being moved, but that’s about it. I don’t know if I really see anything happening before the deadline, to be honest. The off-season may be a different story, but everything we’re hearing from the local reporters seem to indicate that the Wolves aren’t necessarily pushing for trades. They’re testing the waters and if a good deal comes their way they’ll bite, but I don’t think they’ll make a move(s) to push for a playoff spot this season. I think we’ll see those moves over the summer. So, to answer the question, no I don’t think they should (or will) be sellers right now.

Patrick: Maybe Pek? (Eds. Note: Okay, maybe not.)

Zach: I think if the Wolves make a deal, even a crazy Rubio for Rose deal, it’s simply to create cap space. That seems to be Thibodeau’s M.O. so far. He loves the idea of cap space. He wants to make sure he has enough to make serious runs at veterans who may consider signing with the young guys. Clearing Rubio’s deal does that, and Pekovic’s cap number isn’t long for this world. Maybe we see that bridge point guard happen if they have an expiring deal.

On the flip side – say the Wolves do decide to be a “buyer.” Name one feasible target you’d like the Wolves to add. What would you give up for him?

Bill: If this stupid New York thing happens, I’d love for the Wolves to at least end up with either the Knicks’ first-round pick (top-three or -five protected is fine) or Willy Hernangomez, who is putting up a per-36 minute line of 15-14-3 on 54% shooting. That’s almost certainly a ridiculous pipe dream. But whatever. Don’t judge me.

Tim: Damian Lillard. I saw his name pop up in a tweet so I assume the Wolves are going to get him tomorrow.

Andy: This is probably dodging the question, but I’d prefer the Wolves “buy” future draft picks as part of any trade that goes down, as opposed to (realistic) players they might acquire. As the young core approaches their first contract extensions, the Wolves salary cap management will become trickier. If they can pick up an extra draft pick or two to be used down the road, it might help provide them with cheap depth when they need it most.

Lucas: Depends on your definition of feasible. I’d really like if they acquired P.J. Tucker, Patrick Patterson, or Patty Mills (I know I was only supposed to name one, but math was never my strong suite). Tucker is probably the only truly gettable one of the three at the moment and all of these players will be free agents this coming summer; I think they’d probably be better off snagging them then. I think there’s a misconception that the Wolves need to trade for or sign another borderline star/star for them to make the next jump. What I think they need most is quality depth, especially bench depth, and all three of these players would provide that and then some.

Patrick: [nods toward Zach Harper] Ricky Davis. He’s priceless.

Zach: Patrick Patterson. You risk him walking in free agency, but the Raptors have a lot of bigs and need a wing. I’d offer Bazz and a second for Patterson and just hope Masai Ujiri has been day drinking.

And finally… How many more years do you think it will be until a free agency/trade deadline period passes without every random former Bull being connected to the Wolves “because THIBS”? Will it ever stop? Or is this our new reality?

Bill: This is our life, now. Waits for Kirk Hinrich to get a 10-day contract.

Tim: I’m looking forward to Thibs pursuing Joakim Noah Jr. when 2-time MVP KAT is in his latter years, looking for a successor.

Andy: The rumors will continue until all of those former Bulls have undergone knee and hip replacement surgeries. Based on the wear and tear some of those guys are showing these days, it might not be as long as you’d think.

Lucas: It’ll never stop. I’ve never completely understood this narrative. Is Thibs interested in some of his ex-players because they’re his ex-players or because some of them are actually still good/serviceable and potentially fit a need? The ones that he was able to sign last summer (Noah and Deng, specifically) he passed on because they demanded too much money and/or are no longer as effective as they were in Chicago. For all the talk of him wanting his old players, none of them are currently on the roster (yet). I think it’s just a good (and I use good loosely here) way to drive traffic.

Patrick: I believe this will be the new-normal. It’s a negative externality of getting into the market for Thibs. Still, even if we prefer not to admit it, don’t we deep down believe that it’s Denzel Valentine’s destiny to play here before it’s all said and done?

Zach: It gets the clicks and the clicks rule our world. When do all of the Bulls who have played for Thibs retire? Does that happen before he’s no longer running this organization? That’s when I think it’ll end.

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8 Responsesso far.

  1. Bounce Bros says:

    Alright, so let me start by saying this:no part of me wants to trade Rubio and every ounce of me wishes we child go back to the draft and make that 76ers trade (at the time it was rumored Noel, Covington abs the 26 abs 28 pick for the 5). But it is what ithe is now. If we are set on trading Rubio to clear room for (gulp) Dunn, please don’t make the Rose deal. Apparently, the Pistons are extremely interested, why not get ahold of Philadelphia and see if they would be interested in a 3 team trade?
    Minnesota-Noel
    Philadelphia- Jackson
    Detroit-Rubio.

    Philadelphia seems hesitant to get Rubio because they are worried about floor spacing issues. Jackson is a better scorer than Rubio is and it would help take some of the pressure off of Embied and Simmons (when he gets back).

    Detroit is enamoured with getting Rubio I believe because they want guys like Pope and Drummond controlling the offense more. (I will admit, I don’t know slot of the motives behind this but hey, they are interested according to reports)

    As far as the Wolves go, could you imagine Towns and Noel protecting the paint? I slavate at the thought of it. The biggest problem is he is a restricted FA next year, which means he will be demanding a lot. But if the trade was made, we would have 20 something games left to see if it would work.

  2. jmndodge says:

    Any chance Thibs wakes up, looks in the mirror,, realizes that an idiot is looking back at him, and says you’re fired! It has taken a special brand of stupid as a coach to mold this talent into a divided two class roster with a losing record. Let him make his trades – I’ll follow our players to championships somewhere else, really unbelievable we could let Mitchel go.

  3. gjk says:

    I just hope Wolves fans and media aren’t talking 3 years from now about how Thibs screwed up overestimating Dunn’s potential and wishing they’d used their 2017 draft pick on one of the half-dozen PG prospects (if available when they pick) who ended up being better than Dunn, while wishing they had “one more core piece.” In this future, I also hope there’s no conversation about how stagnant the team’s offense is and wishing they had an elite passer who could bring the whole thing together…(That player is not now and will never be Tyus)

    The whole wanting cap space thing is great until you look at the available free agents next summer. Not only aren’t there many vets who would add that leadership, there aren’t many guys who clearly would fill a need on this roster. Maybe they get a Tayshaun Prince or KG type like last season’s team had, but that about it. Yes, the space can be used to take on salary, but can they stop trading picks? It’s not just the obviously bad Jaric, Johnson, and Payne trades; they’ve been punting on 2nd rounders since Pek, including drafting the slam dunk champ over Nikola Jokic and then cutting him for Justin Freaking Hamilton before Jokic even took up a roster spot. This franchise needs all the low-cost assets they can get, and they also need all the chances to let Thibs try to mold a non-lottery/2nd-round pick into a useful rotation player.

  4. pyrrol says:

    Uh, why would Minnesota ever want Boogie? He’s never gotten his team to be decent in his career. I’m suspicious of ‘superstars’ who cannot do this after watching KG make some pretty bad teams competitive. Also, Boogie is a man child who’s attitude has been a cancer on the Kings for years. And, he plays the same position as Towns and despite being a ‘banger’ has a very similar skill set to Towns. As for what actually happened, what a crazy experiment. NO is already hurt by its lack of consistent guard play. Adding Boogie doesn’t do anything for this major flaw. Then you are building your team around two starting bigs who have similar skill sets and massive need for the ball. Between the two of them, Davis is the better player (particularly two-way). So you will be robbing your best player of some shots he used to take for the same type of shots taken by a player with a somewhat similar skill set. Worse, Cousins is used to being the clear 1st fiddle and the best player on his team. How will he respond to being the 2nd fiddle and not widely considered the best player on his own team? I’m guessing not well. Expect even more attitude and behavior issues, particularly if NO continues to be a bad team (but even if they end up winning a lot right away). Despite the twin towers, NO will be easy to beat with good shooting. In this era of teams building themselves to compete with GS, we’re seeing a team spend a lot of money and be pretty easy to take down with a hot hand. Really odd move for NO in my mind. As for SAC, it looks like they are just giving up. They will be very bad, but in a way they may be a more fun to watch and more functional team. Still pretty pathetic to see them roll over like a turtle on its shell. But I guess years of having toxic Cousins on your team gets into your head…

    An aggressive yet smart Wolves organization would be peddling Dunn hard at the deadline. This would clear space for who we likely upgrade with in the upcoming draft, give us perhaps a competent vet, open playing time for Jones (and in turn allow Rubio to rest a bit more). More simply, it is a chance for us to get value out of Dunn we likely won’t see again. It wouldn’t be hard to replace him with a better player. His trade value might be only going down from here but is still OK to decent. He’d have to make a pretty big change as a player to be a major asset to us as a player or improve his trade value. Of course this will never happen. The phone got hung up as soon as Thibs or Layden heard a hard K sound.

    Really, the best thing the Wolves can do is keep Rubio (and Shabazz for that matter) and try to get into the playoffs. Even if we don’t make it, the run at it will be good for the team and good for the fans. It’s time. Trading any major piece (including or especially Rubio) would likely end any serious attempt to make the playoffs. It looks like Thibs listened to reason and didn’t move anyone (likely because he’s very competitive and really does want to run at the playoffs or at least win as much as we can and getting rid of Rubio wasn’t a way to do this, and the offers for anything else weren’t… helpful). This is something I have to give Thibs credit for–on many levels, he chose to do the right thing in this situation (I won’t even dignify the Rose for Rubio thing with any specific comments). Still, the fact that he seems heavily focused on moving Rubio as an option while seems pretty unwilling to look with an open mind at others on the roster to move is enough to keep one mad and suspicious. He seems to respect Rubio enough to not give him away (and how Dunn has turned out so far, whether he wants to admit it, adds to his pause) yet refuses to stop fixation on the option of moving him. Also, I wouldn’t covet cap space too much if I were Thibs. That’s not how it works in the sticks. We should try to sign our guys and draft good ones and add maybe a few minor pieces, but we don’t need a lot of ‘acquisition cap space’. It’s an unwise waste. Work hard to sign the guys already here you like, perhaps even Shabazz.

    • gjk says:

      There are serious questions about Cousins as a player, but the Pelicans needed to take this risk. He doesn’t fit with Towns, but Davis doesn’t want to play center, and they both have the type of perimeter game to make this work. Plus, Buddy Hield might not even have starter potential, much less the ability to be a dominant scorer.

      • pyrrol says:

        I’m skeptical it will work out. True, Cousins and Davis play different positions (unlike Towns). But what % of their points and shots will they be getting from their bigs now? Before the trade it was bad enough with Davis rattling off 40 point games on a bottom tier team. This trade makes their team balance crazy off kilter. Add in Cousins’ attitude problems and I wonder if this isn’t going to work out as well as people think even though on value alone it was highway robbery.

        In Buddy’s defense, he’s looked better lately and may turn out to be a good player. I still have no idea why NO coveted him so much and it’s far from a sure thing what Buddy will turn into. Pretty odd. I think it was inevitable they were moving on from Boogie at some point soon. The question remains: Is this really the best value you guys could get?

  5. Tom says:

    Interesting how every team we are trying to get past to make the playoffs made a deal. New Orleans, Denver, and Portland (technically Sacramento, but they just said “screw it, we have our new arena, let’s start over.). Even Dallas got Noel which along with Barnes makes them stronger in the long run.

    Technically not doing anything isn’t bad, if you feel everyone was looking to get a steal from the Wolves, but that highlights Thibs problem. He tried “anyone want a PG that I don’t want?” with Rubio, but now has to keep a PG that knows Thibs isn’t keen on keeping him. My guess is that Rubio will continue to be a better PG than Dunn and that makes Dunn far less tradeable than after Summer League when he was ROY banter. He also has a bench worth of players that no one wants because he hasn’t shown that he wants them, except for Baz and Dunn. So we either let Baz go for nothing or overpay to keep him. And we avoid drafting a point guard in the Lottery because we have three. A Lottery that has a half dozen guards that may be better than ours.

    Thibs the coach has irritated me by not being a strong game coach, not developing a bench, and having difficulty getting through to his stars the importance of consistent defense, his area of expertise. However, I thought he and Layden would be excellent GM team and so far, I have to say Thibs may be a better coach. He does have cap money, and would have had more if he traded for Rose and finally dumped Pek. Dunn may get Zack LaVine like better over the summer and I may be glad to have him. Thibs may keep Rubio as a energy bench leader with Baz and Belly and G creating a better bench. Thibs may get FA to take his money this year even though his team may miss the playoffs due to poor defense and inconsistent effort and other teams in our conference have gotten better this week, so technically doing nothing isn’t bad. It just means another opportunity to get better was wasted.

  6. pyrrol says:

    I didn’t see a lot of opportunities for the Wolves to get better with trades available at this deadline, especially with the limited amount of guys Thibs was willing to put on the block. It mostly boiled down to ‘to trade Rubio or not to trade Rubio.’ I’m against the idea of moving Rubio at all, but the offers we were getting would not have helped our team. The only likely other piece was Bazz, but I’d rather see what he does the rest of the season, and make a decision on trying to sign him in the face of the likely return we’d get for moving him. I think dumping Pek is a fantasy and he needs a medical retire stat.

    Though Thibs’ run as coach here has so far been chequered and mediocre, there is no evidence that he’s any good at the front office control he so coveted. He’s got no track record coming in on that yet some of the things he did on the Bulls suggest he may not have the clearest judgement of talent and role. His only splash so far as POBO was the Dunn pick and that makes me skeptical he knows what he’s doing on that end,particularly with prospects. His signing of bench pieces he then refuses to play (see the self convo post) is both mystifying and suggests he isn’t a great judge of guys in the league, either. It’s a ‘harder than in looks, Thibs’ kind of thing so far. He wanted this kind of power in Chicago, (wisely) never got it and found a place that would allow him to take over. Now that he has it he’s off to a tough start. As I stated above, given the context, I think it is a sign of wisdom that he stood pat now. I still question his ability to analyze talent (see Dunn and Rubio). In many ways, he’s conservative in these sorts of things, which is usually OK, particularly with the young talent the Wolves have. But he still will have to do some POBO things, including the draft and adding mortar between the bricks in free agency. Not sure any of that will go better than the coaching.

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