Wolves draft choice: Deal or no deal?

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2012 - 8:17 AM

The Wolves have the 18th pick in the draft, but their preference is to trade the pick, and they have many options.

hide

Lakers forward Pao Gasol might interest in the Wolves

Photo: Mark J. Terrill, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Timberwolves own the 18th overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft. That doesn't mean they'll still have it by night's end. With a team already lopsided with young players, they'd prefer to trade it in a deal that brings back a veteran presence. Here's a look at their situation and some of their options.

Needs

• A perimeter player -- a shooting guard preferably or small forward -- who can handle the ball and create for others. It wouldn't hurt if he can shoot and knows what defense is, either. Wolves coach Rick Adelman made do with 6-1 Luke Ridnour as his starting shooting guard for most of last season out of necessity, but he prefers a legitimately sized scorer who can handle the ball and make plays, someone other than point guards Ridnour, Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea.

• An athletic big man who can block shots and protect the rim. Nikola Pekovic delivered a breakthrough season, but other than his considerable muscle, he's not a defensive force. Darko Milicic theoretically can be one as a shot blocker, but you can bet he never plays another game for Adelman, not after last season. If his contract is not included in a trade before then, the Wolves can use their one-time amnesty clause to remove Milicic's $5 million salary for next season from their salary-cap books from July 11 to 18.

Trade chips

• Forward Derrick Williams is the team's most valuable piece. He is working this summer to transform his body and game from natural power forward to small forward so he will better fit with a Wolves team that already has All-Star Kevin Love at power forward. The Wolves could trade Williams to balance the roster with a more natural wing player or big man. Or less likely, they could try to use him and their 18th overall pick to move up considerably in Thursday's draft.

• Pekovic. Yes, he became a bruising revelation last season with nightly double-doubles, but when Wolves boss David Kahn talks about his team's untouchable core, he only mentions Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. That means the big guy is available, but it'd have to be the right deal.

• This year's 18th overall pick as well as Memphis' protected 2013 pick.

• One of the team's extra point guards, Ridnour or Barea.

• Martell Webster's contract, which has value because it can be bought out this summer for a small sum.

Complicating factor

The Wolves would be in better position to make a sea-changing trade if they hadn't squandered so many assets already, namely draft picks they've turned into a collection of players -- Jonny Flynn, Lazar Hayward, Wes Johnson, Wayne Ellington, Webster -- who didn't or haven't yet panned out. If they had more, better young prospects, they'd be better aimed to make a blockbuster deal for a veteran star.

Shopping for stars

• Pau Gasol, Lakers power forward/center. Lakers brass is promising they're not trading the All-Star, which means you can expect him to be dealt in the coming days before the new punitive luxury tax hits in 2013.

The Wolves inquired about him at last summer's draft, but why? He'll turn 32 next month, he's owed $37 million over the next two seasons and the Wolves don't really need another power forward/center, right?

Answer: Adelman is 66 and under contract for two more years. He wants to win now and Kahn probably needs to get this team to the playoffs quickly to keep his job. A Gasol-Love-Rubio core could win 50 games next season. Acquiring his friend and fellow countryman also presumably would make Rubio even more of a happy camper in Minnesota.

• Jamal Crawford, Portland shooting guard. The Wolves pursued him twice -- as a free agent when the lockout ended in December and at the March trade deadline. He agreed to extend the opt-out date on his contract to Friday so the Blazers can try to trade him and the remaining $5 million option for next season. If they don't, the Wolves can try to sign him as an unrestricted free agent starting July 1. They certainly won't offer their 18th pick for him, but ...

• Brandon Roy, free-agent shooting guard. The Wolves wouldn't need to give away anything to sign the former All-Star, who essentially retired in December at age 27 because of bad knees. But they would have to convince Roy -- who announced recently that he is planning to play this season -- to come to Minnesota when other teams such as the Lakers, Warriors or Heat come calling.

• Kevin Martin, Houston shooting guard. Don't assume the Wolves are interested just because Martin played for Adelman twice before, in Sacramento and Houston. He's 29, will make nearly $13 million next season and is one-dimensional. He could become an option if the price becomes cheap enough.

• Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia shooting guard. Former coach Kurt Rambis once was willing to drive cross-country to fetch this guy if the Wolves had been willing to absorb Iguodala's massive contract for a relative song. He would fill the Wolves' need for a versatile, defensive-minded shooting guard, but he's still due more than $30 million for the next two seasons, a superstar sum for a guy who's not a superstar.

• Tyreke Evans, Sacramento shooting guard. The Kings purportedly are willing to trade the 2010 Rookie of the Year. He's not the dead-eye shooter you'd prefer next to Rubio, but at 6-6 he's a deft ballhandler who can create his own shot and get to the basket, all of which are Wolves needs.

• Josh Smith, Atlanta forward. The Wolves had discussions with the Hawks about him before last year's draft. He's the kind of athletic forward -- a jumping-jack, shot-blocking defender -- they seek. But with one year and $13.2 million remaining on his contract, they might not be willing to meet Atlanta's price.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 11:00 AM
Virginia
Maine 12:00 PM
Army
Ferris State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
San Francisco 12:00 PM
Cleveland State
Oregon State 12:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Canisius
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Radford
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
Evansville
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 11:00 AM
Denver
St Marys-CA 11:00 AM
George Washington
TX-San Antonio 11:00 AM
Nicholls
Portland State 11:00 AM
Columbia
Tenn Tech 11:00 AM
Morgan State
SMU 11:00 AM
Auburn
Quinnipiac 11:00 AM
Hartford
Hofstra 11:00 AM
Boston College
Eastern Washington 11:00 AM
Georgia Southern
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Bryant
Liberty 12:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Fairleigh Dickinson 12:00 PM
Brown
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Long Island
Bucknell 12:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Stony Brook 12:00 PM
Wagner
FIU 12:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 12:00 PM
Providence
Maine 12:00 PM
William & Mary
Alabama State 12:00 PM
Samford
TX-Pan American 12:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
South Dakota St 12:00 PM
Marist
Saint Josephs 12:00 PM
(5) Notre Dame
Radford 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
TCU
Evansville 1:00 PM
IUPUI
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Chattanooga
Princeton 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Rider 1:00 PM
Binghamton
SC State 1:00 PM
Clemson
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
Colgate
South Alabama 1:00 PM
UAB
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Navy
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Davidson 1:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close