Archives For Transactions

The AP reports (via ESPN.com):

The Minnesota Timberwolves are trying hard to land Pau Gasol. If they have to part with the highest draft choice in franchise history after just one season, the Wolves appear ready to do it. That much became clear leading up to the NBA draft on Thursday night, when Minnesota offered Derrick Williams in hopes of landing the second pick from the Charlotte Bobcats to help get Gasol from the Los Angeles Lakers, two people with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press.

Teaming Gasol with Ricky Rubio has long been a dream of David Kahn’s–and evidently the Wolves are still looking to make a deal to land the big Spaniard. I have no doubt that a Gasol-Love frontcourt as coached by Rick Adelman is a nice idea. But I wonder: does giving up on the second pick in the draft in exchange for a 32-year-old star smack of impatience? After all how old, and how effective, will Gasol be when Rubio reaches his prime?

 

Wolves have taken themselves out of the 18th pick fiasco that I babbled about yesterday by dealing it to the Houston Rockets for Chase Budinger and the rights to Lior Eliyahu.

The Eliyahu aspect of the trade shouldn’t really matter. He’s a good athlete that really can’t shoot or do much with the ball. I guess a guy like Rubio could make him valuable in the open court on some level, but he really shouldn’t have a real chance at making the team if the Wolves are serious about filling out this roster. He’ll be at Summer League and we’ll see how he’s progressed.

As far as Chase Budinger goes, I love this deal for the Wolves. Is Chase Budinger a future star in the NBA? No. It’s also unlikely the Wolves would have picked up a wing player at 18 that would have provided the instant production that Chase will bring to the team. Terrence Ross falling to the Wolves seems like the only way the team could have maximized this pick. Otherwise, it’s a lot of square pegs into holes that already have square pegs there.

Chase Budinger is as good of an athlete as anybody that will be available, so let’s not pretend they downgraded there. He’s also a guy that shot 40.2% from 3-point range last year. Not only did he shoot 40.2% from 3-point range last year but he can make corner 3s as well.

Check out the next three shot charts.  Continue Reading…

It begins

Benjamin Polk —  April 10, 2012 — 5 Comments

Looking ahead to next season while the current season is still underway is almost a Spring ritual of Timberwolves fandom. It looked for all the world like we might actually be able to think about things like whether Kevin Love ever deserved to be mentioned as an MVP candidate or whether the Wolves could conceivably win a playoff game against the Thunder…but at this point those long-ago thoughts seem a little quaint.

So, given the horror of the Wolves’ last few performances, its only fitting that some of us should begin detailing the necessary off-season overhauls. Speculating as to which baroque maneuvers the Taylor/Kahn administration might conceive of has always given me night terrors; I always end up so exceptionally, bewilderingly wrong when I try. But luckily, our friend Stop-n-Pop over at Canis is both braver and more well-versed in the nuances of the salary cap than I.

Here are SnP’s most fundamental recommendations:

  • Avoid multi-year 4-for-4 Kahntracts for bench players.
  • Only splurge on your own draft picks (the good ones–cut bait as quickly as possible on the bad ones) and on players whose Bird Rights you have acquired via trade.
  • Fill out the sub 20 mpg part of the roster with foreign players, D-Leaguers, and 2nd round picks–preferably on 1 year contracts.
  • Derrick Williams and the Utah and/or Memphis picks are the best assets you have to make a move for a 2013 RFA with Bird Rights. Ideally this move would have been made this season (Batum or McGee) but that ship has sailed. In the meantime, the 2/3 should be addressed by targeting Green, Meeks, Lee, Hill (or similar .100wp48+ esque player) + some flier/filler: Evans or someone like Joe Alexander. The other wing spot will hopefully be filled via the Williams RFA trade.
  • Dump as many resources as possible into developing/maintaining a state of the art draft operation. I.e. go over to the U and find some PhD candidates who play pick up ball, count cards, and know how to use excel. This is, never has been, and never will be rocket science.

As SnP admits, this entire endeavor is dreadfully speculative and freighted with unknowns and moving parts; still his piece is quite detailed and very much worth reading.

 

The NBA trade deadline has come and gone and the Wolves roster looks exactly the same as it did when we woke up this morning. The juiciest rumor had been a proposed three-team deal between the Lakers, Blazers and Wolves that would have sent Michael Beasley to L.A., Luke Ridnour to Portland (along with Steve Blake and LA’s first-rounder) and netted Jamal Crawford for the Wolves. But when we saw that the Lakers had used their picks to score Ramon Sessions and Jordan Hill, we had to know that the deal had to be dead.

Now, there’s no question that it might have been nice to see the Wolves improve the roster or net a pick by moving Beasley rather than allowing him to become a restricted free-agent this summer. And it would also have been nice to land Crawford, upgrading their offensive production at the two-guard. But to my mind, the price of that deal was a little high. First of all, while Beasley alone for Crawford might not have a been an exactly equal deal for Portland, Beasley and Ridnour together seems a bit much. Ridnour has actually been a more efficient, though considerably lower-volume, scorer than Crawford over the past three seasons.  He’s also a much better passer and defender, even when giving up multiple inches at the two.

Given that the Wolves claim to be pursuing a playoff spot this season, a starting backcourt of J.J. Barea and Jamal Crawford seems to be conspicuously lacking in an actual playmaker, someone who can consistently serve the ball to Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic. And even if it was a Crawford/Rubio pairing the Wolves were ultimately after, Crawford has an opt-out clause in his contract for next season. In other words, the Wolves would have been trading their only healthy true point guard for a high-volume gunner who wasn’t even guaranteed to be around past July.  Seems like they lucked out to me.

There were seven scenarios that could have played out with this Kevin Love contract extension apocalypse:

1. Kevin Love becomes the Wolves’ designated player, earning an extensions worth roughly $78 million over five years.
2. Kevin Love agrees to a four-year extension worth roughly $61 million.
3. Kevin Love agrees to a four-year extension worth roughly $61 million that includes an opt-out clause after three years.
4. Kevin Love waits until this summer to deal with his contract and accepts a max offer from the Wolves.
5. Kevin Love waits until this summer to deal with his contract, becomes a restricted free agent, signs with another team and the Wolves match the deal to retain his employment.
6. Kevin Loves accepts the qualifying offer of around $6.1 million this off-season, plays out next year as a T’Pup, and re-signs with the team after becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2013.
7. Kevin Loves accepts the qualifying offer of around $6.1 million this off-season, plays out next year as a T’Pup, and then leaves to sign with another team as an unrestricted free agent as we all curl up into the fetal position and mutter to ourselves, “there’s no place like Rasho… there’s no place like Rasho…”

Kevin Love and the Timberwolves opted with option #3. Is it the best option on the board? We have no idea and that’s why everybody seems to be freaking out about it. It leaves a certain level of uncertainty that we just can’t handle in this day of impatience.

Continue Reading…

You have perhaps seen this Peter Vecsey report about the  impending deadline to offer Kevin Love a contract extension:

According to the messenger, All-Star Kevin Love has not been offered an extension. Think the double-double emperor’s feelings are bruised? Think agent Jeff Schwartz might be putting the pressure on GM David Kahn and owner Glen Taylor to make a proposal pronto? You got that right; according to my source, if one isn’t submitted by Jan. 15, 10 days before the league deadline to enrich players in Love’s position (Russell Westbrook is another), then don’t bother.

Think there’s a lot of speculation and unattributed sourcing in that paragraph? Yeah me too. For the record, Love claims that he hasn’t spoken with his agent about an extension since the season began (which, obviously he would say that).

Also for the record, and as per our frequent conversations about Kevin Love’s value, Bradford Doolittle of Basketball Prospectus has weighed in firmly on the side of offering our guy the max (very much worth reading). And considering how intensely good he has been this year and how much he has added to his game in just under three seasons, I’m inclined to agree. Let’s get this thing done. Here’s the slightly chilling way Doolittle leaves us:

There is no question he is deserving of a max contract, and probably little question that the Timberwolves will make such an offer. The only thing we don’t know is whether Love will sign it.

Bonzi bows out

Benjamin Polk —  December 24, 2011 — Leave a comment

Bonzi Wells we hardly knew ye. Due to the glut of guaranteed contracts on the Wolves’ roster, there wasn’t any room for the 35-year-old vet. It’s kind of a shame too; seemed like the old fella had a new lease on life. So the Wolves’ opening day roster is as follows:

Guards: J.J. Barea, Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio, Malcolm Lee, Wayne Ellington, Martell Webster, Wes Johnson (although looks like he’ll also play some three)

Forwards: Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Anthony Tolliver, Anthony Randolph

Centers: Darko, Big Pek, Brad Miller

So in memory of Mr. Wells, here’s Bonzi hitting a miracle shot:

And here he is getting yoked on by Baron Davis.

Timberwolves have announced that Lazar Hayward is no longer on the team.

They acquired Robert Vaden and two future second round picks for Hayward and then promptly waived Robert Vaden. Now the Wolves can sign JJ Barea without having to amnesty anybody and pick up a couple second round picks in the process. Not bad, I guess.

I’m going to miss Lazar. He and Wes Johnson were very jovial with each other during their Media Day appearance together. They roomed with each other this past summer during the lockout. Hopefully, this decision doesn’t keep the Wolves from securing Wes Johnson with a contract extension in three years.

Here are the highlights of Lazar Hayward that I could find on YouTube.

I’ll tell you… nobody made layups like Lazar Hayward. NOBODY! So many layups. He also had one of Jonny Flynn’s assists by the looks of the video. That’s like catching a no-hitter in baseball.

In all seriousness, I liked Lazar on the team but I wasn’t married to the idea of him having to be here. He was at a crowded position and will hopefully get a better chance to provide some scoring off the bench in OKC. Good luck, Lazar.

I was shocked to hear that Bonzi Wells has been invited to the Wolves’ training camp and even more shocked to hear that he is only 35 years old. Considering that Bonzi played serious minutes on a team that included Scottie Pippen, Arvydas Sabonis and Detlef Schrempf,  I had him pegged for at least 50. But I was wrong and right now he’s a Wolf. Come to think of it, the Wolves could use an upgrade at center; I wonder if Sabonis is still in playing shape?

Even more surprising: the Wolves are also pursuing NBA Finals hero and bona fide Small Person J.J. Barea. Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? a three-guard lineup featuring Rubio, Ridnour, Barea? Am I right? But for real: is another primary ball handler really what the Wolves need?

Speaking of perimeter players: now that the Chris-Paul-to-the-Lakers deal is in ashes (beautifully played everybody), I’m curious whether Kevin Martin remains available. He makes a chunk of change ($11.5 million this year and $12.4 million next year), he never passes the ball and the Wolves rotten perimeter D wouldn’t be made any less rotten, but Martin is the most efficient high volume perimeter scorer in the league–and the Wolves could definitely use a little of that.

And by the way, isn’t it delicious to see the Wolves’ unprotected 1st round pick bandied about in Chris Paul trade rumors? Oh Kevin McHale, will your gifts ever stop giving?


Well, the deadline for signing Ricky Rubio for next season under the rookie wage scale has come and gone. And, as usual in this long, baroque saga, all we have to show for it are supposition, innuendo and uncertainty. At issue are the same old things: 1) the new CBA, under which Rubio would almost certainly make less money than he would under the current rookie scale; 2) the lockout which, if Rubio signed with the Wolves this summer, could keep him from playing any basketball at all next year–and right now, what Ricky most deeply needs and wants is to play basketball; 3) the fact that Rubio may just not want to play for this weirdly managed, perennially terrible cold-weather team.

Happily for the Wolves, it seems that this latter issue is less decisive than had been reported at the time of the draft. What this whole adventure does cast into relief, however, is just how much David Kahn and the Wolves have invested in the young prodigy. Back in 2009, Rubio was a fount of possibility, a player so young and with such preternatural skill and awareness that he seemed able to bear endless quantities of hope. In many ways, that hope has sustained Kahn through the strange decisions and seeming aimlessness of the two years that have followed.

But now that Rubio’s star has dimmed and the realities of collective bargaining have presented themselves Kahn is faced with a harsh reality. Two years, two drafts and three lottery picks have gone by since Kahn took control; the Wolves have acquired exactly zero impact players in that time. Rubio is still a reservoir of hope, but that hope seems more brittle all the time.