Kevin Garnett for Greg Oden? It’s Crazy, but…

Ever since the #7 envelope was opened to reveal the Timberwolves’ logo, I’ve been constantly running trade scenarios through my head.  Because while the Wolves will probably be able to snag a decent player at the #7 spot, it’s going to take a really, really good trade to turn this franchise around. 

[ad2] Wolves fans, you know the drill.  The traded picks, the bad salaries, the ticking of KG’s biological clock – they’re one big recipe for disaster.  The only realistic solution that we had for this mess going into yesterday was getting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant.  Unfortunately, that was no longer an option today.  Or is it…

In my scheming, I managed to come up with 3 or 4 trades that I think the team could pull off to start righting the ship.  They all involve keeping Garnett, since my ultimate goal is to see the Big Ticket win a title in a Wolves uniform.  Trading him for a bunch of picks just isn’t a big plus for me at the moment.  Because if we win a title without KG in five years, or ten years, or fifty years, it’s still a title without KG.  Anyway, I’ll get to those trades in the coming days. 

What I wanted to focus on today was a very random thought that popped into my head.  At first, I dismissed it as ridiculous.  Because thinking this would ever, ever happen actually is.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s a trade that sort of makes sense.  Again, this is never going to happen.  But at the same time, it’s so simple and in some ways, so logical that you have to stop and think about it.  But it’s never going to happen. 

Before I get to the trade, I’d like to bring one point up.  So many times you see trades proposed by people, myself included, where the person making the trade says “Of course I’d do it!  This is a great deal for us!”  Well unless you’re making up a trade with Isaiah Thomas, Danny Ainge, or Kevin McHale, those trades are never going through.  And actually, since Isaiah Thomas, Danny Ainge, and Kevin McHale have been fleeced so badly lately, they have nothing valuable to trade  now anyway.  Basically, the trades that usually happen are ones where neither team is really certain that they’re going to get the better end of the deal.  If it was so obvious that one team was ripping off the other, the trade would’ve dissolved long ago.  The trades that happen are based on two teams who can meet each other’s specific need.  Yet at the same time, both have to give up something fairly valuable in return.  So trading KG for half the Bulls roster was probably overduing it.  At the same time, expecting the Lakers to get KG for Andrew Bynum and a crappy 20th something first rounder is equally ridiculous. 

The reason I bring this up is that I honestly don’t know if I’d do the trade I’m proposing.  Which makes me believe it is somewhat realistic.  My hesitation has nothing to do with my sentimental attachments to KG.  I’m looking at this from a pure basketball standpoint and realizing that we’d be giving up one of the greatest players in the game and could potentially be walking away with next to nothing. 

So here it is…

[image] kg trade
Yeah, it’s crazy. But still… [image2]

Minnesota Gives Portland: Kevin Garnett, Randy Foye

Portland Gives Minnesota: Raef LaFrenz, Darius Miles, the #1 pick in the 2007 draft. 

Which basically boils down to Kevin Garnett and Randy Foye for Greg Oden. 


Most of you might think I’m crazy, but I’d seriously have to think about it before I’d do that trade.  And here’s why.  While almost everyone is buying into the hype that Greg Oden is the second coming of the Messiah, there’s really no way to know that.  He could be the next Shaq.  He could be the next Duncan.  But at the same time, he could be the next Michael Olowokandi, Kwame Brown, Joe Smith, Andrew Bogut, or Sam Bowie.  There’s just no way to know for sure.  Everything looks like Greg Oden will be a superstar for years to come.  But the same held true for all those guys I just mentioned.  You just don’t know.  Grant Hill, Anferneee Hardaway – some more examples of guys with huge potential who just never reached it.  There’s no such thing as a sure draft pick. 

So why would the Timberwolves do this?  Basically, unless a miracle happens, this team doesn’t have a real prayer of sniffing a deep playoff run for 4-5 years.  By that time, if KG hasn’t opted out or forced a trade, he’ll be getting up there in years.  This trade does nothing to change the fact that the Wolves will be in the cellar for 4-5 years.  We’ll still be out of our two draft picks, and we’ll be bogged down with the contracts of LaFrenz, Miles, Hudson, Jaric, James, Hassell, and Blount for years.  However, when all that ends, we’ll at least hopefully have Greg Oden in his prime. 

That is, if Greg Oden’s prime ends up being anything to write home about.  We still don’t know that.  In the event that Greg Oden is a bust, as unlikely as it seems to be right now, we’ll have completely submarined this team for five years with absolutely nothing to show for it. 

See, this isn’t such a no-brainer trade for the Wolves. 

Perhaps more importantly, why would Portland do it?  Kevin Garnett is a sure thing.  Greg Oden is not.  Kevin Garnett puts you into title contention NOW.  Greg Oden, if he pans out, puts you in title contention in 3-4 years.  If Portland does this trade, it can boast a lineup of Randy Foye, Brandon Roye, Zach Randolph, Kevin Garnett, and Joel Pryzbilla, with Jarret Jack and LaMarcus Aldrige coming off the bench.  Now that is one extremely sick lineup!  Especially in a year or two when all those young guys start hitting their stride.  Could the future be brighter for longer with Oden?  Of course.  KG’s got ten years on the guy.  But the key word here is COULD.   

Like I said, I honestly don’t know if I’d do this trade.  It’s a very high risk, desperate move.  The only thing it leaves us with is hope that in 4-5 years we can start rebuliding the right way with a solid star in place, instead of rebuilding from scratch.  Then again, if Oden is a bust, it goes down in history as the worst trade ever. 

If you’re Portland, you also have to mull this one over.  You’re potentially giving up a lot of good years for immediate results.  But the future’s never certain, and if you can seize the day, you really have to consider doing it.

So that’s my insane trade that will never happen.  But still…


Derek Hanson

About Derek Hanson

Doctor by day, blogger by night, Derek Hanson founded the Bloguin Network and TWolves Blog. He is one of the original Timberwolves fans, hailing back to 1989.