A couple notes before I go into the trades:
First of all, I don’t want the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade Ricky Rubio or Alexey Shved. Both players have three years left on a club-friendly contract and are young enough to build around. Furthermore, Rubio’s vision and passing make everyone around him better and Shved has shown an ability to provide size, shooting ability and offensive acumen, making other guards like J.J. Barea and Luke Ridnour expendable.
Kevin Love is included in two of these trades, but that does not necessarily mean that I think the Wolves need to trade the disgruntled forward. He is a franchise player and I truly believe he wants to win in Minnesota, a sports-crazy city with more basketball fans than outsiders realize, but is just frustrated with the team’s front office. Having said that, he is not off-limits by any means and is a valuable trade chip.
I also think that there is an argument to be made for the Wolves to keep Derrick Williams, especially now that Love is injured, but he is still a valuable asset in a trade. He is young, talented and may thrive with a change of scenery. The risk in trading him, of course, is that he turns into an All-Star on another team and Minnesota is left holding the bag.
Without further ado, here are four trades I believe the Wolves should consider.
Kevin Love and Derrick Williams for Pau Gasol and Earl Clark
Sounds crazy, right? This is definitely a trade that could blow up in Minnesota’s face.
If Kevin Love and Derrick Williams reach their potential in Los Angeles with a franchise with a strong tradition of excellence, David Kahn might lose his job…especially if Pau Gasol, 32, runs into injury trouble and Earl Clark is simply a product of Mike D’Antoni’s system out in the City of Angels.
At the same time, this would be a great time to swindle the former Minneapolis Lakers. What if Love and Williams cannot handle the pressure of playing in the bright lights of LA? They will definitely have a shorter leash out there.
Or what if Love continues to have trouble with hand injuries? He also will have more media to complain to, meaning that he may isolate his teammates out there as well (we all know about the Hollywood Drama that always plagues the Lakers).
And looking at the positive side for Minnesota, maybe Gasol thrives while playing with Rubio and Clark is simply a product of good coaching, which he will have in Minneapolis.
It’s a risky trade, one that would either go really poorly or really well, but if Timberwolves management feels they need to shake things up, this would be a great way to do it.
Kevin Love and Luke Ridnour for Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson and C.J. Miles
People have been talking about a trade with the Cavaliers involving Pekovic and Varejao for quite some time now, but here’s what I don’t like about that: with Love’s hand troubles and Varejao’s blood clot I’m not sure the Wolves want two injury-prone big men on an already injury-prone roster.
Instead, it might be smarter to include Love in the trade and get a little more in return. Toss Ridnour in, a player who’s stock went through the roof when he lit up the Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night, and see if Cleveland will offer Tristan Thompson and C.J. Miles (the basketball player, not the eponymous supermodel, although we’ll take her if she’s available).
It can’t be overlooked that Thompson is a bit of a project—he does not hit free throws and his post game needs work—but those are fixable problems, and worth the gamble for a large, young player. Plus, if he starts to shine under the moon at the Target Center, the power forward would push Derrick Williams to play better or make him expendable.
I had written earlier that I wanted Daniel Gibson from the Cavs; however Miles appears to offer more for the Wolves right now. He may not make a great centerfold, but like Shved he offers size at the 2 and has a scorer’s mentality that drives him to the basket. Also, with a club-friendly deal, he could be a trade asset next season and swapped for more value.
Ironically, this trade would reunite Wes and Uncle Drew. It would happen in another city, of course, but you could say we’re just being Minnesota Nice to the only city that has had worse luck in sports than we’ve experienced out here. (Oh, and by the way, it might sound crazy, but Minnesota might actually have to include a draft pick too.)
Minnesota gets: Hedo Turkoglu, J.J. Redick (from ORL)
Phoenix gets: Derrick Williams, Luke Ridnour (from MIN)
Orlando gets: Marcin Gortat (from PHX), J.J. Barea (from MIN)
All right, now it’s time to get a little freaky and include three parties in the fun.
A couple things about this trade:
First of all, it is not inherently fair. Orlando will need to get some picks from both parties in order to agree to it.
The reason I think they’ll pull the trigger, though, is that they don’t appear ready to completely blow things up and start over in the post-Dwight Howard era (although that may change as time goes on). By acquiring Gortat they replace Howard with an inferior player, but one that scrapes glass, can hit a mid-range J and rolls well on the pick-and-roll. He also would greatly improve if he added strength. In Barea they get a player that has an arsenal of weapons (most notably, those Academy Award-winning flops), takes care of business in the clutch and has won a championship before.
Phoenix seems to love Wolves rejects (isn’t that right Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson?) and would probably start foaming at the mouth if Williams were offered to them. Hell, they might just go nuts and give Minnesota Jared Dudley just because (probably not though). In Ridnour they get a poor man’s Steve Nash that they can sell to their fans as a plug until the team puts real stars on the floor.
I know everyone in Minnesota sees Turkoglu coming the their way and goes, “No way in hell! This is just a skinny Darko Milicic!” Pump the brakes guys and hear me out; the Turkish forward used to be good. Yes, that’s “so 2009,” but maybe he turns things around with a uniform change. If not, it’s an expiring contract they can terminate at the end of the year.
J.J. Redick is the target, of course. He is the lights-out shooter Minnesota needs and the real prize in this deal.
Tom Schreier covers the Timberwolves for Bleacher Report and writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com.