After racking my brain for days and days, trying to come up with a way to turn this team around, I think I may have found it. Sure getting Kobe or Vince Carter would definitely help the Wolves’ cause. But Kobe’s a pipe-dream, and while Vince Carter is a big name that would draw fans, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t do wonders for our team. So after scouring all the “big name” players out there who could help out KG and coming up empty, I finally stumbled upon the man who could potentially clean up the Wolves mess.
No, I’m not talking about Iverson. [image2]
[ad2] If the ginormous photo didn’t tip you off, that man is Chauncey Billups. If we could manage to acquire him while keeping Randy Foye, that would give us a very solid guard tandem to pair with KG. The Timberwolves have also been like a rudderless ship for the past two seasons, and having Billups run the point would be a significant boost. He’s proven to be the “big shot” type of player that meshes so well with KG, and it’s also got to help that the two of them are very good friends.
That last point just might be the biggest reason why the Wolves need Chauncey. Since the departure of Cassell and Sprewell, Garnett hasn’t had a teammate to really bond with. He appears friendly with Trenton Hassell, but I never sensed that the two share the close-knit bond that Garnett had with Malik Sealy, Sam Mitchell, Sam, Spree, and… Chauncey. In a season where Garnett could opt out of his contract and abandon the Wolves with no compensation, giving Garnett a tangible reason to stay is essential for the survival of this franchise. I can’t think of a better motivator than Billups.
So how do the Wolves go about acquiring Chauncey? Well it just so happens that Billups has the ability to opt-out this year as well. Most people feel that he will as he’s currently making 6.4 million and could potentially earn a lot more with a new contract. With the Pistons a perrenial Eastern Conference Finalist that’s recently had trouble getting ove the hump, most of their fans are calling for a shake-up. Locking in Billups to a very large, long-term deal just doesn’t fit that model. If Billups does opt-out, he will almost be guaranteed to end up on a different team.
The most the Wolves can offer Billups is the MLE, which won’t be enough to lure him to the Twin Cities. The most likely way to get him would be through a sign and trade. This definitely helps our cause because Detroit won’t have the absolute say in where Chauncey goes. If this were a simple trade, some other team, like the Bucks who are rumored to be targetting Billups, could offer the Pistons a better deal. In this case, we’d lose out on him. With a sign and trade, a little bit of the decision making is shifted to Chauncey as he never has to sign the contract if he doesn’t like where he’ll be shipped off to.
So why would Billups want to come to Minnesota and get involved in our problems instead of staying in a winning environment like Detroit? Reason #1 would be the money. If we offered him the max, that would be pretty good incentive. Personally, I think that would be overpaying him, but we have to do it given the circumstances. Reason #2 is that he would get to play along side one of his best buds. Garnett desperately needs a teammate like Chauncey. When you can help out a friend AND get paid millions for it, that has to be something you consider. Reason #3 is vindication. After being scorned by McHale in 2003, when Kevin refused to give Billups the starting spot over the hobbled Terrell Brandon, Chauncey left for Detroit. Depending on his feelings, Billups may very well hold a grudge against the Wolves and we’d have no chance of acquiring him. However, seeing as the situation eventually played out in his favor, you’d think that Chauncey wouldn’t be too angry any more. And having the team who once rejected you come back groveling on its hands and knees with a max contract would have to be pretty satisfying.
Now, what would we send Detroit in return for Chauncey? Ricky Davis would have to be included. He’s got a medium-sized expiring deal that would be a nice finacial help to the Pistons. At a minimum, we might be able to get by with just including Rashad McCants or Craig Smith. My guess is that whoever we select at #7 will be the ultimate price we’d have to pay. Then we’d need a contract to make salaries match, which would have to be Trenton Hassell, Marko Jaric, Mike James, or Troy Hudson. My guess would be that either Hassell or James would be included.
So would Detroit take our offer of Davis, James, and our #7 pick? Well if it got to this point, Chauncey would already be on his way out. So it’s not like they would be keeping him if they didn’t trade. Davis’s expiring deal could help their cap number quite a bit, the #7 pick would be a nice for rebuilding, and Mike James could be a nice player in the right situation. I think that’s a decent trade for them given the circumstances. And if push really came to shove, I’d be willing to swap one of our bad contracts for a worse contract, say Troy Hudson for Nazr Mohammad. (Nazr’s got one more year on his deal for the same money).
If the door opens up and Billups opts-out, the Timberwolves would be absolutely crazy not to come bursting through. Acquiring Billups would go a long, long way in preventing the dreaded Garnett opt-out or 30 cents on the dollar trade at the deadline. Financially, it would really strap the Wolves for years. But regardless, the Wolves are financially strapped for years anyway. Having the foundation of Billups, Foye, and Garnett would be a major step forward for the Wolves. The addition of Chauncey combined with the maturation of Foye could easily add 14-15 wins onto this team’s record. If the Wolves use the MLE properly, they could definitely be back in the playoffs next year.
Chauncey Billups, my fellow Timberwolves fans, IS the answer for this team’s problems. Let’s hope and pray that he opts out of his deal and our front office does everything possible to secure the one piece that will secure Garnett.