Where There’s Smoke…?


Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

Rumors about Iguodala and Granger seem to suggest that Kahn is approaching negotiations with at least a couple of teams. Assuming we aren’t totally going to liquidate Kevin Love, we have some known assets, some of which we will need to build around and some of which we will need to move to get the more experienced players that we need to add in order to help us win.

Let’s assume we are actually actively pursuing trades with our assets including our #2 pick. Let’s try to crawl into the head of Kahn- scary, I know.

As counterintuitive as this may sound, I happen to agree with Kahn that we don’t need to blow up our current roster to build a good team. It’s like we’re building a house, however, and we have 7 different types of flooring we’ve purchased but we don’t know what we are doing for the roof. We may not have even completed the design yet. In this case the excess flooring selections are young Power Forwards and the roof is a Point Guard. However, let’s take things as they are and not as they should be, and see if we can develop a sensible plan for moving forward. You know, one that we will never implement because it will “cost too much.” Even though the team’s value would increase disproportionately vs. the investments made in forming a good team if we actually won games. But no one cares about that. Moving on…

Our major positions of need are perimeter shot creation, perimeter defense, point guard play (i.e. ball handling/decision making), and center play (i.e. interior defense/post play).

Here are the assets we own (in order of descending value, my best estimate of value to other teams):

  • Kevin Love – 6’10” – PF – 22 years old – $3.64 million/yr, 1 yrs remaining
  • Ricky Rubio (contract rights) – 6’3″ – PG – 20 years old – unsigned (under contract in Europe)
  • Micheal Beasley – 6’10” – SF/PF – 22 years old – $4.96 million/yr, 1 yrs remaining
  • 2011 Own 1st Round Draft Pick – #2 Overall (likely BPA = Derrick Williams)
  • Anthony Randolph – 6’11” – PF/C – 21 years old – $1.97 million/yr, 1 yrs remaining
  • Wesley Johnson – 6’7″ – SG/SF – 23 years old – $3.73 million/yr, 3 yrs remaining
  • Nikola Pekovic – 6’11” – C – 25 years old – $4.28 million/yr, 1 yrs remaining
  • Anthony Tolliver – 6’9″ – SF/PF/C – 25 years old – $2.2 million/yr, 1 yrs remaining
  • Martell Webster – 6’7″ – SG/SF – 24 years old – $4.8 million/yr, 2 yrs remaining
  • 2011 Memphis 1st Round Draft Pick – #20 Overall
  • Nemanja Bjelica (contract rights) – 6’10” – SF – 23 years old – unsigned (under contract in Europe)
  • Henk Norel (contract rights) – 6’11” – PF/C – 23 years old – unsigned (under contract in Europe)
  • The rest of our team which is relevant primarily for the purposes of matching salaries, etc.

Total Salary Committed for 2011-12 = $43.72 million

Total Salary Including Cap Holds and Options for 2011-12 = $49.12 million

Please click “Read More” to continue with likely/desirable trade targets, and more!

Here are the most likely/desirable targets based on rumors, contract situation, and best “fit” for our team (in descending order of “fit”):

  • Marc Gasol – 7’1″ – C – 26 years old – $3.57 million/yr, EXPIRING
  • Andre Iguodala – 6’6″ – SG/SF – 27 years old – $12.3 million/yr, 3 yrs remaining
  • Danny Granger – 6’8″ – SF – 28 years old – $10.97 million/yr, 3 yrs remaining
  • Rudy Gay – 6’8″ – SF – 24 years old – $13.6 million/yr, 4 yrs remaining
  • Tyson Chandler – 7’1″ – C – 28 years old – $12.6 million/yr, EXPIRING
  • Greg Oden – 7’0″ – C – 23 years old – $6.76 million/yr, EXPIRING
  • Josh Smith – 6’9″ – PF/SF – 25 years old – $11.7 million/yr, 3 yrs remaining
  • Brook Lopez – 7’0″ – C – 23 years old – $2.41 million/yr, 1 yrs remaining
  • O.J. Mayo – 6’4″ – SG – 23 years old – $4.46 million/yr, 2 yrs remaining
  • Anderson Varejao – C – 28 years old – $7.28 million/yr, 4 yrs remaining
  • Patty Mills – PG – 22 years old – $0.94 million/yr, EXPIRING
  • J.J. Redick – 6’4″ – SG – 26 years old – $7.25 million/yr, 2 yrs remaining
  • Robin Lopez – 7’0″ – C – 23 years old – $1.87 million/yr, 1 yrs remaining
  • The list includes seven Centers who should be on the market. Of the seven, Gasol, Brook Lopez, Oden, and Chandler may be untouchable- and for Gasol, Oden, and Chandler, much of their availability will have to do with the constraints of the new CBA. I believe it will be very difficult for Memphis to keep Gay, Randolph, Gasol, and Mike Conley, and of the 4 only Gasol has yet to agree to a new extension. Likewise, Oden may be a huge risk to take for Portland with LMA playing well in the low pivot. Dallas has the deep pockets of Mark Cuban to fend off any potential suitors for Chandler, but much depends on Cuban’s valuation of Chandler’s contributions. Regardless, if we place emphasis on the C position we should expect to pay for it. In the case of Gasol I believe a contract in the $10-12 million range would bring him up, but again much depends on the CBA.

    There are five perimeter scorers on the list, and of the five O.J. and J.J. are the most reasonable contracts as well as the most likely to move (OJ was nearly traded at the deadline, and JJ is about the only non-toxic contract that Otis Smith can use to reduce his payroll). Rumblings have come out of Philly, Memphis, and Indiana about Iguodala, Gay, and Granger- any of these would greatly help our team but would come with a huge price tag and would likely require giving up our #2 pick plus another asset (like Beasley). Any rumors of including Rubio’s rights in the deal seem insane to me, unless we are getting a PG in return or know that Rubio’s stuck in Spain for another year.

    The PG situation is probably best resolved by keeping Luke on as a stopgap and either bringing Ricky over or drafting a Knight type player. Likewise perimeter defense can be helped by adding through the draft, Singleton and Nolan Smith come to mind, as well as Malcolm Lee and Justin Holliday.

    Potential Alpha Dogs:

    *Iguodala: Feels more like a very talented complementary player, but could definitely be alpha dog on our sh*tty team. Can he create enough with the ball in his hands or does he need someone to set him up in position?

    *Granger: Has alpha dog experience, albeit not on a good team. Good shot creation, but does he fit next to Love?

    *Beasley: Consistency and sloppiness concern me. Youngest, least mature on the list.

    *Josh Smith: Again, the consistency thing and historical shot selection scare me. Has added “big time” experience to his resume this year. Don’t know enough about what he’s capable on a nightly basis as the go-to guy.

    *Rudy Gay: Knee problems, shot selection are concerns, age and production are positives. Would fit nicely next to Love for a long time, although I don’t know that the seeming lack of maturity of our sports culture would be able to handle a “Gay/Love” lineup without all kinds of weird vibes.

    *O.J. Mayo: We’re starting to slide down the slope here… Mayo was highly touted coming into the league, but what do we really know about him as an every night player, let alone a go-to guy?

    *Derrick Williams: Nothing about his game makes me think he can instantly become a creator at the NBA level. I’ve been wrong before, but watching him, it seems like he depends on his athleticism to overwhelm the other players when creating at the college level. Won’t be so easy at the pro level.

    *Marshon Brooks: Sad but true, our best chance at a creator may be with our #20 pick this year, but only if the FO realizes that Beasley struggles on perimeter D to the point where it neutralizes his offensive abilities.

    Well T-Wolves fans, that’s as much as I can pound out right now. Let the ideas fly.

    Incidentally, any business looking to inject some creativity into their business plan should really consider using a collaborative blog-type atmosphere for sounding off their ideas. If Kahn were on here throwing trade ideas out, I nearly guarantee we’d come out better in our moves over the long run.

    Great synergy here at TWolves Blog.

    College Wolf

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