Rand: Beware of trade deficits with Wolves

  • Updated: July 23, 2012 - 11:54 PM

To trade or not to trade: The Wolves must carefully weigh the choice in regard to second-year forward Derrick Williams.

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To trade or not to trade: the Wolves must carefully weigh the choice in regard to second-year forward Derrick Williams.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune file

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The weekend death of former Vikings General Manager Mike Lynn, sad news to be sure, naturally brought back plenty of old stories about his tenure -- including, unfortunately, many remembrances and discussions about that signature Herschel Walker trade.

Seeing once again in print just what the Vikings gave up in their pursuit of a star running back was a timely reminder of this: Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make.

From a Vikings perspective, that certainly would have been the case had the Walker deal never happened. And maybe -- just maybe -- we'll look back in five years and say the same thing about this Timberwolves offseason.

The Wolves have already done some notable roster re-shaping this summer, trading for Chase Budinger and reaching agreements to add Brandon Roy, Alexey Shved and Greg Stiemsma while also shedding some players from last year's team.

The biggest moves, however, have eluded them so far: namely, getting wing Nicolas Batum in a straight-up signing or in a sign-and-trade, and/or dealing Derrick Williams for another major piece of the roster puzzle. At one point, even, it was reported that Williams could be dangled as part of a trade for Batum.

If that was true, we have to think the best move for the Wolves is that this deal never happened. Minnesota has already bolstered its wing play with some of the aforementioned smaller moves. In addition, Williams is slimming down in an attempt to play more at small forward this season. Batum was going to cost more than $11 million a season, and -- as promising as he is -- is still not fully proven as a major lineup piece.

Now we know what coach Rick Adelman might have preferred. He spelled things out fairly clearly last week on an NBA TV broadcast.

He said this about Williams playing small forward: "I'm definitely not sold on him. He's never played it. He's got to go and prove he can do it."

And Adelman said this about Batum: "He's a perfect fit for our team."

But let's not forget Williams was the No. 2 overall pick a year ago before he jumped into an abbreviated camp and a condensed NBA season. He could make a big leap given a little more time. And -- as much as Adelman might not like it -- Williams is playing for an organization that still needs to exhibit patience.

Because as those in Minnesota know (thanks to Walker), when you try to take a shortcut to building a championship team, it can quickly turn into a detour.

MICHAEL RAND

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