RandBall: The Wolves-Memphis trade? Do it!
- Blog Post by: Michael Rand
- February 18, 2014 - 9:55 AM
A Yahoo report suggests the Wolves and Grizzlies are discussing a trade in which the principal players involved would be J.J. Barea and Chase Budinger leaving the Wolves and Tayshaun Prince plus Tony Allen joining them.
Two words: Do it.
If you are the Wolves, you need to shake things up. And while this deal isn't perfect for a number of reasons, it isn't bad, either.
You'd be losing a three-point shooter in Budinger. You'd be losing "good" Barea, the guy who can still score in bunches off the bench. And you'd be taking on two less-than-perfect contracts (Prince is owed $7.7 million next season, the final year of his deal, and Allen still has THREE years remaining after this one at about $5 million per year). Prince will be 34 in a couple weeks. Allen is 32. This trade could lock the Wolves into the same salary cap madness cycle they went through with Kevin McHale.
Wait, why should the Wolves do this again?
Plain and simple, they need a shakeup. It's going to be tough to overhaul the roster in any other way than a trade since they are already up against it cap-wise and historically it's been tough to get big-time free agents to come here anyway. The roster, as currently constructed, is missing something -- and the main component just might be defensive toughness/chemsitry in the fourth quarter. Prince and Allen would solve that immediately. A crunch time lineup with those two, Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic would have the right balance of scoring and toughness. The Wolves could play offense-defense substitution with Kevin Martin and Allen as needed, too.
They would miss Budinger's three-point shooting, but Prince actually has a higher career mark from long distance (36.8 percent vs. 35.9) than Budinger. They would be handing the backup point guard role to A.J. Price, unless they made another corresponding move for a backup point guard, but that wouldn't be the worst thing, either. It's time for Rubio to sink or swim, and playing 38 minutes a game is the only way to do that.
In short, you lose some scoring and flexibility, but you gain toughness and the potential to get better. If you're all-in on Kevin Love, this improves you in the short term. Maybe it's too much of a shortcut, but the status quo isn't cutting it and the chance to improve otherwise will be tough.
If the deal is really there, the Wolves should make it.
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