The Timberwolves came into the 2013/14 season with high expectations, or at the very least, expectations of being a playoff team in a loaded Western Conference. After a hot start, the team has cooled down some and is floating around what I like to call the Mason-Dixon Line, i.e. playing around .500 ball. The schedule has done the team no favors, but that is completely out of the team’s control. What we do know from the first third of the season is that the team is lacking in the depth department. Coach Adelman is relying too heavily on his starters and a seven/eight man rotation is going to pay unkind dividends come March and April.
With that train of thought in mind, I took a look around the league and played with the NBA Trade Machine to find a few potential deals that might make sense for the Wolves and its trade partner. I am considering the following players untouchable: Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Kevin Love, and Nikola Pekovic. While I don’t think Corey Brewer is a chip that would be dangled out there, I also wouldn’t consider him untouchable. These trades are largely built with the thought of improving our depth and are not blockbuster deals.
I do not believe it makes sense to even consider a trade for Love in the middle of this season. We traded away Derrick Williams and I would rather save any thoughts on this for the offseason when you know what the draft order is and can try to grab the appropriate top pick, other players, etc. In other words, unless the Wolves make and advance in the playoffs, you won’t be able to avoid this conversation.
Finally, please note that none of these deals have any legs, as far as I know. This is simply one loser man sitting on his couch and tinkering with the Trade Machine.
Alexey Shved and Robbie Hummel for Louis Williams
Why the Pups make this deal: For one reason or another, Shved has looked a little broken for much of this season. While he has somewhat improved more recently, I can’t imagine the Wolves aren’t looking to upgrade their backcourt. This is one of several deals throughout this write-up that you’ll hear me say, “If Adelman approves you probably go ahead and make the deal”. In fact, let’s call this “Adelman’s Nod” throughout this piece. Fair?
I don’t love this deal, and you have to include Hummel (or the DWill trade exception) to make salaries match.
Why the Hawks make this deal: Williams has been a little banged up this season and his performances have been wildly inconsistent. They would receive a player in Shved that might need a new beginning and an end of the bench guy in Hummel that you know will be ready when called upon.
A separate deal with the Hawks could be Brewer for Kyle Korver. However, I have no interest in trading for a 32 year old player when the team does not look like a legitimate contender these days.
JJ Barea and Corey Brewer for Jeff Green
Why the Pups make this deal: Obvious deal if it were to be on the table due to the talent level of Green. A secondary deal might have to be in place though as well, unless you are OK with Shved playing backup PG.
Why the Celtics make this deal: This would likely be part B of a complete blowup of the Celtics (read: Rondo is sent packing as well). This would get the C’s out of Green’s contract, with JJ’s contract coming off the books one season earlier.
JJ Barea and Shabazz Muhammad for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Why the Pups make this deal: Similar to above, if you believe that Shved can play backup PG, perhaps you would like to move JJ Barea for an upgrade on the wing. I don’t know what to expect from Budinger, but if he has another setback, Charlotte is probably the first team you call to see if MKG is really available.
Why the Bobcats make this deal: Do they want a little scoring punch off the bench in JJ? If they really are looking to move MKG, would JJ + taking a risk on a rookie that will be under contract for a few more years (Shabazz)? I don’t think this is a deal that they would necessarily consider, but the Wolves might consider strengthening it through the draft (and then be all-in on keeping Love and Rubio).
JJ Barea and Shabazz Muhammad for Dion Waiters and Sergey Karasev
Why the Pups make this deal: Waiters strengthens the backcourt a bit and you essentially trade the two rookies if it helps get the deal done.
Why the Cavs make this deal: A backup PG to help Irving out a bit and again, a belief that they can do something with Muhammad.
Dante Cunningham for Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb
Why the Pups make this deal: They believe that LRMAM can fill in the blanks for Cunningham. This deal would strengthen the wing and guard play slightly. This is most definitely an “Adelman’s Nod” move.
Why the Magic make this deal: If the Magic want to clear cap space, they might be interested in taking back DC’s expiring contract. It isn’t much money, but could help their bottom line. By all accounts, DC is a great locker room presence and would be a nice pickup for the Magic.
JJ Barea and Dante Cunningham for Evan Turner
Why the Pups make this deal: Similar thoughts that combine a few deals above. Wolves’ fans have had their eyes on Turner since midway through his last season at Ohio State. While he hasn’t become a superstar in the league, his skill set would be a welcomed addition to the rotation at the wing positions.
Why the Sixers make this deal: Plain and simple: Money. DC’s contract is expiring at the end of this season and JJ’s expires at the end of next. The team would have the ability to flip Barea again in the offseason if they wanted as well.
Shabazz Muhammad for Chris Singleton
Why the Pups make this deal: Muhammad is not in Adelman’s rotation at all and who knows how long it will take him to get there, if ever. Everything we learned with the Derrick Williams’ situation seems to be coming to fruition here again with Shabazz. (Have I complained about the 2013 draft recently? I don’t think I have. It was another awful evening for the franchise and I’m now fully comfortable with that assessment and don’t expect too much of a rebuttal anymore.)
Why the Wizards make this deal: Singleton is out of the Bullets’ Wizards’ rotation and might need a change of scenery. Shabazz is obviously at the very beginning of his rookie deal and it might be appealing to have that on the books for the Wizards.
Shabazz Muhammad for Austin Rivers
Why the Pups make this deal: Everything that you just read above in the Washington deal can be reapplied here. A deal for Rivers might strengthen the guard rotation a bit and this might also make a separate move involving JJ Barea more likely.
Why the Pelicans make this deal: I still don’t know why the Pelicans signed Tyreke Evans after trading for Jrue Holliday. However, those two guys need the ball in their hands and are starting to come around, albeit inconsistently. Rivers is very expendable in my opinion and a trade for Muhammad might help their wing play a bit.
Dante Cunningham for Alec Burks
Why the Pups make this deal: This is probably the definition of “Adelman’s Nod”. I don’t see him signing off on a deal like this. However, the Wolves need to strengthen their guard play and DC is the most marketable trade asset the team has – good player, great (expiring) contract.
Why the Jazz make this deal: The Jazz desperately need some help with their frontcourt. This deal doesn’t commit any long term salary either.
(This deal screams “Let’s make a deal for the sake of making a deal!”)
Fire away! Any of these ideas look appealing to you? Any other deals that you can think of that makes sense? Let us know in the comments below.
Two items that caught my attention when scrolling through teams and the trade machine:
- Don’t sleep on the Memphis Grizzlies between now and the trade deadline. They have just over $13 million available in trade exceptions and could look to make a big splash if the right deal were to come around.
- The Wolves are a tough team to work with on the trade machine, particularly when you list the starting lineup as “untouchable” right now. The team has a lot of mid-range contracts, but trying to match salary and talent is really tough. This will get really ugly if the team can’t get Love to sign another extension.