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

Atlanta 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Detroit 1
Philadelphia 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Houston 1
St. Louis 2 Bottom 5th Inning
Miami 0
Baltimore 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Tampa Bay 0
NY Yankees 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Chicago Cubs 2:05 PM
San Francisco
Los Angeles 2:05 PM
Chicago WSox
San Diego 2:05 PM
Seattle
Cleveland 2:05 PM
Cincinnati
Milwaukee 2:05 PM
LA Angels
Oakland 2:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Texas 2:05 PM
Kansas City
Colorado 2:10 PM
Arizona
NY Mets 4:05 PM
Washington
Boston 6:05 PM
Minnesota
Toronto 6:05 PM
Baltimore
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Chicago
Dallas 9:30 PM
Portland
Calgary 6:00 PM
Boston
St. Louis 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Washington
Toronto 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Dallas 6:30 PM
Florida
NY Islanders 7:00 PM
Nashville
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Arizona
Montreal 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Morgan State 3:00 PM
MD-Eastern Shore
Niagara 4:00 PM
Siena
Holy Cross 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Western Ky 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Navy 6:00 PM
Colgate
Temple 6:00 PM
East Carolina
UAB 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
Boston Univ 6:00 PM
Lafayette
American Univ 6:00 PM
Lehigh
Wisconsin 6:00 PM
Minnesota
Fairfield 6:00 PM
Saint Peters
Arkansas 6:00 PM
South Carolina
Morehead State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
North Florida
Southern Ill 6:05 PM
Missouri State
Texas State 6:30 PM
Appalachian St
SC State 6:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Delaware State 6:30 PM
Coppin State
Middle Tennessee 6:30 PM
FIU
Texas-Arlington 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Norfolk State 6:30 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 6:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 7:00 PM
Florida A&M
Southern Miss 7:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Georgia State 7:00 PM
ULM
Marshall 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Rice 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 7:30 PM
Arkansas State
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Grambling St
Alabama A&M 7:30 PM
Jackson State
Sam Houston St 7:30 PM
Lamar
Central Arkansas 7:30 PM
Nicholls
Portland State 7:30 PM
Northern Ariz
Southern U 7:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Houston Baptist 7:30 PM
TX A&M-CC
SE Louisiana 7:45 PM
New Orleans
California 8:00 PM
Arizona
Eastern Ill 8:00 PM
Belmont
Memphis 8:00 PM
Connecticut
VA Commonwealth 8:00 PM
Davidson
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Miss Valley St
Marist 8:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Sacramento St 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northwestern St 8:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
North Texas 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 8:00 PM
Washington
Idaho 8:00 PM
Weber State
Abilene Christian 8:00 PM
Incarnate Word
Eastern Wash 8:05 PM
Idaho State
Bradley 8:35 PM
Drake
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Long Beach State
UC Riverside 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Stanford 10:00 PM
Arizona State
Utah 10:00 PM
Washington St
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 57 2nd Half 6:34
Michigan 34
Arkansas 29 2nd Half
Ole Miss 28
Manhattan 5 1st Half 15:33
Niagara 9
Massachusetts 0 1st Half 17:40
Richmond 2
Virginia 4 1st Half 18:00
Miami-Florida 2
Jacksonville St 6 1st Half 14:06
Belmont 12
Morgan State 14 1st Half 13:31
MD-Eastern Shore 6
Campbell 1:15 PM
Winthrop
Furman 1:15 PM
Samford
Oregon 1:30 PM
Washington St
Indiana 1:55 PM
(23) Rutgers
Pepperdine 2:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Auburn 2:25 PM
(18) Texas A&M
Morehead St 3:00 PM
Tennessee St
George Mason 3:30 PM
Saint Josephs
Western Carolina 3:30 PM
East Tenn St
Arizona 4:00 PM
UCLA
Texas State 4:00 PM
Appalachian St
TX-Arlington 4:00 PM
Georgia Southern
SC State 4:30 PM
Bethune-Cookman
Delaware State 4:30 PM
Coppin State
Portland 4:30 PM
Santa Clara
Norfolk State 4:30 PM
Hampton
NC A&T 4:30 PM
NC Central
Savannah State 5:00 PM
Florida A&M
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Central Arkansas 5:00 PM
Nicholls
Houston Baptist 5:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Radford
Georgia 5:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 5:00 PM
Marshall
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
Louisiana
South Alabama 5:05 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 5:15 PM
ULM
Sam Houston St 5:30 PM
Lamar
SE Louisiana 5:30 PM
New Orleans
Northwestern St 5:30 PM
Stephen F Austin
Alabama A&M 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Grambling
Ark-Pine Bluff 5:30 PM
Miss Valley St
Southern U 5:30 PM
Prairie View
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Wofford 5:45 PM
Mercer
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Incarnate Word
La Salle 6:00 PM
Rhode Island
Illinois 6:00 PM
Nebraska
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Rice
Valparaiso 6:00 PM
Oakland
Missouri State 6:05 PM
Indiana State
Georgia Tech 7:00 PM
(15) North Carolina
Presbyterian 7:00 PM
High Point
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
UAB
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
North Texas
Wichita State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Northern Iowa
Bradley 7:05 PM
Drake
Vanderbilt 7:30 PM
(12) Kentucky
Colorado 8:00 PM
USC
San Francisco 8:00 PM
Pacific
FIU 8:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Idaho State 8:00 PM
Eastern Washington
Weber State 8:00 PM
Idaho
Purdue 8:25 PM
Minnesota
Cal-Irvine 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Long Beach St 9:00 PM
CS-Northridge
Hawaii 9:00 PM
UC Santa Barbara
UC Davis 9:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Northern Ariz 9:00 PM
Portland State
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Utah 10:30 PM
Washington
BYU 10:30 PM
St Marys-CA
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 doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close