Today marks 2nd trade deadline in a row in which Kahn was silent. However, if you observed the kinds of deals that were made, it might become clearer that this wasn't the time where the Wolves were going to make some noise. Disappointing? Sure, of course. The season is over, basically. Whenever Kahn fails to make a forward move, it brings about an immediate (and, frankly, deserved) high quantity of cynical outcry from the fanbase. The Wolves are playing a PG at the 2 spot for the 2nd year in a row, and there seemed to be some deals out there that may have helped the team. But aside from the Houston Rockets adding a top 5 pick for role players and the Suns reuniting the Morris twins, today marked a series of trades that were by and by more about cap savings and teams maximizing the return on players they knew they could not afford to retain in free agency next season; or shopping them and failing to net said return because the asking prices were too humorous for print. In other words, the players available did not fit with the Wolves' payroll, nor the opposite (the exception being Brandon Roy's now wasted expiring deal. We thank Brandon Roy for getting paid $1 million per game of organized sport and being a resident Arby's/AT&T spokesman so he could have his Moonlight Graham moment. Now please leave).
For a team such as the Wolves, facing 2 players in need of raises (Pek and Chase), the prospect of adding a 3rd player in need of a notable extension that would double or perhaps triple his 2012-2013 salary was not overly appealing. Gerald Henderson and JJ Redick come to mind, here. Again, does this make the fact that a script was almost formulaically written for the Wolves to send Barea to Boston for Courtney Lee any less disappointing? Of course not. Paying customers shouldn't have to suffer through money moves/non-moves and gift wrapped talent being shipped off due to cap rules, and then listen to ridiculous bull&%*@ from ownership that "winning is priority #1." The purpose of this is not to come up with some kind of excuse for management to continue to sit on its hands, or justify/warrant the lack of activity when the needs are so mind-numbingly obvious. It is merely to say that, based on what we saw transpire with other teams (Houston being the usual and obvious exception of course), does it kinda/sorta surprise you that the deadline came and passed with no trade? It really shouldn't. This was the most boring trade deadline since the 2000 deadline that saw only a single deal made. Sebastain Telfair was trending on Twitter today.
The big, burning question mired in speculation and rumor quietly impacting all of this is the fate of Nikola Pekovic. As Zach over at AWAW astutely noted the other day, with a Pek and Chase extension looming, the Wolves are very soon going to find themselves inches from luxury tax territory. Sure, a few moves here and there and getting rid of Luke or Barea will change this quickly, but the incoming future salary commitments are poised to increase the Wolves' total payroll anywhere from $10-16 million over what it currently is today. What the big worry is at this point, is that the Wolves are not going to re-sign Pekovic and will instead make a move to acquire a wildly inferior player to replace him this offseason such as the laughably terrible Timofey Mozgov. And there is no defending his level of awfulness. Please, spare the "well he was good in the Olympics!" talk or the "if he reunites with the Russians he will unlock his powered up version!" No. Just no. Stop. He is awful. Pekovic may get hurt from time to time. He may miss some bunnies. But re-signing him is an absolute must-happen this summer and if a lack of move today helped solidify his future in Minnesota by virtue of salary implications, I am absolutely fine with us not making a panic move for an average shooting guard who likely moves nary a needle for us in the future. As for who that guard will be down the line, I again point to the pool of quality guards slated to go in the top 10 of this draft: McElmore, Mohammed, Smart and Oladipo. Any of these guys would be great additions to the squad. But in all reality, Chase Budinger is your starting 2 with Shved and perhaps a FA pickup such as Anthony Morrow off the bench to nail 3's. Who knows what happens with the pick with Kahn involved and a Plumlee brother waiting to be selected.
So, while the lack of move is disappointing, it is not surprising. The market was as dry as can be and the prices were too high. Sure, the Wolves could have overpaid for a rental of JJ Redick (rumor was the Wolves could have had him for the improving D Will and a 1st rounder), but then what? Watch him sign elsewhere for $7-8 million per year? A tough pill to swallow that likely doesn't end favorably for the Wolves, as very, very, very, very, very, very, very………..very few things do.
The ominous upcoming offseason is what should be of greater concern. Are the Wolves going to pony up for Pek? Will Adelman even continue to coach this team given his age and family issues? What on earth do we do if he leaves given this team was built to his wishes? Terry Porter as the Wolves coach? How will this failed season impact not only Glen Taylor, but his even-more-penny-pinching minority owners' willingness to improve the hole at shooting guard from a financial standpoint? Just what is there to this Timofey Mozgov stuff? Not to paint a doomsday scenario here, but this trade deadline may soon be the least of our worries. Let us hope that Glen surprises again as he did last summer.