Luke Ridnour Trade Ideas

Luke Ridnour Being Shopped?

luke-ridnourI hopped on to trusty old ESPN today and read a little rumor about the Wolves shopping Cool Hand Luke around. According to ESPN, the Jazz, Celtics and Mavericks may be interested in our steady Point Guard.  As much as I like Ridnour, I concluded that it would be smart to analyze a few trade scenarios in order to find potential ways of improving our team as a whole.

Luke’s contract: 2 years with roughly $4,000,000 per year

Utah Jazz: 

There are three players that could realistically work (I wish Hayward, but no way); Randy Foye (1 yr $2,500,000), Raja Bell (1 yr $3,480,000), and Alec Burks (3 yrs and $6,330,000).

FoyeThe only player that would work straight up is Bell; the others would take a little extra…maybe some cash considerations.  I would not be overly excited for any of these three, but I would think Foye is the best of them.  He has become a better player since we last saw him in a Wolves uniform and he would bring a 3 point shooter we desperately need. Bell is more known for his defensive services, which is never a bad thing, but we need more than defense. Similarly, Bell and Foye are under the final year of their contract, which is nice to free up cap space for re-signing Pek, which I believe that we should!  I have not gotten the opportunity to see Burks play much since being a lottery pick a few years ago, but his shooting this season has been less than adequate. However, he has turned things on this month and has seen his percentages grow incrementally.  He has not had many minutes until this month, so appears likely that he is being showcased to the rest of the teams of the NBA.

Overall, my choice for a trade, need it be with Utah, would be Randy Foye. He is a scorer who knows how to play, can handle the ball, and only has one year left on his deal providing the Wolves with more flexibility.

Boston Celtics:

The Celtics are trickier; I would say the Wolves most likely target player is Jason Terry (3 yrs $5,000,000/yr)

The trade would work out financially while bringing the Wolves a compatible player for our offense. However, his lack of size, relatively large salary and aging body worry me.  I have long been a big fan of his offensive skill set as he has proven the ability to hit the 3-ball time and time again. However, he appears to be in steady decline as his 3PT% currently sits at .357%, which is his worst 3PT% since his last season with the Hawks back in ‘03-‘04.  His contract is an issue, as it takes up more cap space for a longer period then Ridnour, and while Terry can man the 2-guard position (which is by far our greatest need), he is 35 and only stands at 6’2”.Terry

If it were my decision, I would pull the trigger on Terry if he were to become available.  We would need to run with undersized lineups more frequently, but the presence of the veteran Terry could bring a refreshing change to our backcourt.  It could also allow Shved to start with Rubio and we would have two scoring threats in the backcourt off of the bench.

Dallas Mavericks:

As I examine the Mavericks roster, I notice only two players that a trade for Ridnour would financially work for, O.J. Mayo and Vince Carter.  Since I have no belief that the Mavs would trade Mayo for Ridnour, I will not even bother to speculate.  Carter (2 yrs $3,090,000/yr) is the scoring SG/SF we need who has even improved his defense over the past few seasons while possessing veteran accumen.  Carter is currently 36 years of age, but fills multiple needs and is even cheaper than Ridnour.

VinceI would be very enthusiastic should the Wolves somehow land one of Mark Cuban’s favorite veterans. Carter has everything we need (minus the age) and is not a huge expense.  It will bring almost another million to the table come summer and he still can throw it down when Rubio sends a lob his way.

 

If the Wolves were to trade Ridnour (who I would hate to see go), I would be most excited towards acquiring one of Foye, Terry or Carter.  It is never fun to see a player like Ridnour depart, but his leaving may bring the necessary depth at SG or SF we desperately lack in order to effectively compete in the Western Conference.

The Wrath of Pek

Photo: Associated Press

Photo: Associated Press

What happens when an unstoppable object meets an immovable object? 6’-11”, 290 Ibs Nikola Pekovic is what happens! Pek has proven to be a mountainous asset to this Pups team, when Pek flexes, so do the Wolves. Looking through the team s wins and losses, it is important to notice one key trend, the Wolves are 6-0 when peck scores 20 or more (odd stat is we are 5-0 when Pek records 2 or more blocks).Second on the team (1st AK47 .510) in shooting percentage at .505, it is important for the Wolves to get Pek going. His presence of the court will sometimes get overlooked due to our star players Rubio and Love, but his presence and the attention he receives changes the game.

One trait that I love is his ability to get the opposing bigs into foul trouble. He is second on the team (1st Love) in Free Throw attempts, but that doesn’t illustrate fouls he draws on the ground. A great example was last night’s game against the Thunder. Kendrick Perkins who is no slouch on defense racked up two early fouls in the first quarter forcing Thunder Coach Scott Brooks to bring in the number 2 overall pick in the 2009 draft, Hasheem Thabeet. Thabeet, who serves as a defensive minded backup Center proved to be another victim of the Serbian beast. Pek’s play helped influence a move of positions, Brooks sifted Kevin Durant from the 3 to the 4, and place Serge Ibaka at the 5. This move didn’t have the Wolves running rampant all over the Thunder, but it still helped bring the 12 game losing streak against the Thunder to a halt.

Pick and Rolls baby! Pek is a master of the pick and roll, and luckily we have some Guards who love to run it with him. I don’t know if I can name too many (or any) Centers that are better at rolling to the basket then Pek. He is so big and knows how to use his body to keep those passing lanes open, and it is a sight to see it. Matching Pek with a team that has players at every position who can pass has been fun to watch. But you can’t take anything away from Pek, a lot of credit needs to go to his hustle, not many centers can match it. I remember in training camp Pek came in noticeable fitter and the coaches were raving about him leading the pack during running drills. He’s a Center!

We still have not seen the best of him yet, he is a player who has gotten better each year and continues to work on his game. I’m excited to see what new trick Pek learns next…… a jump s hot? I have heard he has a decent one, and he did hit a nice one against the Thunder.

Let’s see how the Timberwolves come out against the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The Knicks bring an interesting matchup with Carmelo at the four and one of the best defensive centers in the league Tyson Chandler. Pek had his chance to show nationally what he can do, let’s see if teams took note.

To play, or not to play?

ricky_background

To play, or not to play, that is the question;

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to play back to backs

Against the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat,

Or to take rest against the sea of competition,

And by opposing the NBA rest him? To rest, to heal, no more…?

Sorry for the Shakespeare spin off, but the Timberwolves are looking at an interesting dilemma; How to manage Ricky Rubio’s playing time? Rick Adelman has been very clear that he has no intention of rushing his Spanish PG back into the mix of things and has developed a plan with his staff that should ease Rubio back. Adelman wants to limit Rubio to around 18 minutes in the early goings, along with high possibilities holding him out of back to back games until he is in game shape.

This brings me to my main point, what will the Wolves do with Rubio for the current back to back with Orlando and Miami? If it was my decision I would play him both nights, but that’s not realistic and I’m selfish. If Adelman was to follow his plan, Rubio would play tonight against the 10-13 Magic, also meaning he would not play against the Defending Champs. No Ricky vs. The Heat, I don’t know how well that would fly. I believe in this team, and even without Rubio they will come out and compete, but is it worth it?

At first thought, I want Rubio playing in the game. But is it worth risking his health……no. But if we don’t play him will the NBA (David Stern) come down on the Wolves? This game has been voted by the fans to be broadcasted on NBA TV for fan night. As we all recall not only a few weeks ago the San Antonio Spurs got a slapped with a fine of $250,000 for resting their star players for a nationally televised game against oddly enough, the Miami Heat. But, with Rubio returning from injury, and the poor timing /unlucky scheduling of the fan selection, it would be ludicrous for the NBA (David Stern) to be upset. So that shouldn’t be an issue…

So why not rest Rubio for tonight’s game and save him for the bout with the Defending Champs? It makes sense; we would want to be at our best against the better team right? Well thinking about it, both opponents are in the East so if we lost one game (hope not) it wouldn’t matter which team. So if Rubio plays against the Magic, I would bet the Wolves have a good chance of winning, and say he rest against Miami, it would a chance to pull off a very challenging and impressive win regardless. I would prefer to see the Wolves win both, but if they had to lose short-handed, I would rather it be against the Heat then the Magic.

It’s hard to not want Rubio for the Heat game; I remember the impressive 90-75 victory on November 7th against the Magic with neither Love nor Rubio, so why couldn’t it happen again? I guess we will have to wait and see, Rubio is listed as available for tonight’s game , and it’s not in question if Rubio wants to play both games, but like Rubio we will have to believe the Coaching staff will do what is best.

This team has proven to have heart, confidence and determination when it steps onto the court (which MN hasn’t seen in years), if a player goes down, the team steps up. They don’t fall easy and whichever plan Adelman goes with, this team has the opportunity to win both games.

Starting at Center, Number 16, Pau Gaasoollllll!?

Surprise surprise, rumors are swirling again that the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to move starting PF Pau Gasol. The 32 year old Spaniard is again the victim of the Lakers early season struggles. This season for the Lakers has been one of big dreams and mass blame. Early on it was Mike Brown, who in reality should never have been chosen over Rick Adelman in the first place. Brown got the quick axe and now it looks to be the once loved Lakers big man who is getting the LA “Death Stare”.

Thus far Gasol has registered a career low 12.6 PPG while shooting .420 percent from the floor. The rest of his game seems to be around his career average with 8.8 RPG and a respectable 3.5 APG. But with the unsatisfactory drop from his Laker average 18.4PPG, it is easy to put a target on the 7’0” big man. Unfortunately for Pau, his surroundings seem to be his downfall. He is on one of the most covered and decorated sports franchises of all time, playing with one of the greatest NBA players of all time and is once again paired with a post player who is taking Pau’s touches , looks, and space in the paint. Granted Pau can hit it from anywhere within 18 feet, he needs to be fed the ball down low. I don’t know if the Lakers forgot, but Pau Gasol has one of the best jump hooks in the league today, and not to mention he can do it with either hand! But so can Dwight Howard right………..? [Read more...]