NBA Trade Rumors: Timberwolves Targets

From the Timberwolves’ perspective, Doogie Wolfson over at ESPN Radio

A non-playoff team for an NBA-long eight consecutive seasons, the Minnesota Timberwolves feel inclined to end that ineptitude even if it means being summarily dismissed by Oklahoma City or San Antonio in the first round.

That inclination, whether right or wrong, stems from coach Rick Adelman’s short-term desire at 66 years old, president of basketball operations David Kahn operating on a one-year deal and owner Glen Taylor trying to raise the team’s profile as he prepares to sell it.

That first part’s a little dour, but ok. Taking into account the urgency felt by management and the coaching staff seems a little more appropriate than the pin-the-tail-on-the-trade-partner method seen elsewhere. The other side of the coin…

League sources maintain Kahn is tempted to wait a few more weeks to see point guard Ricky Rubio — currently out with back spasms, but expected back Saturday against Portland — play a sustained stretch before any drastic decisions are made.

That doesn’t mean Kahn is passing on opportunities to talk with other general managers, though. Here’s a decent idea of where the Wolves stand as we approach the Feb. 21 trade deadline:

Patience until the picture gets clearer, say Kahn. How much more sustained brickage needs to be observed? Regardless of the outcome of Thursday night’s Denver miracle, you gotta see the bricks for the outhouse.

One team official scoffed at the notion that center Nikola Pekovic, who is a restricted free agent this summer, could command $12 million/year on the open market.

I do, too, but big men are constantly in demand, and the Blazers, in desperate need of one, will have cap space.

If Pekovic doesn’t get $12 million a year, the hunch is he’ll come close. That makes me wonder, if Kahn can find the right replacement, whether he’ll pull the trigger.

That could be Cleveland’s Anderson Varejao. According to two league sources, the Wolves and Cavaliers have had discussions, albeit brief, about Varejao.

What’s not known is if Cleveland has any interest in Pekovic. And presumably, it would take a lot more than Pekovic for Kahn to pull off such a deal.

This bit gives me concern. Yeah, Pek may or may not get inked to a fat offer this summer — but moving him straight up for Andy Varejao? C’mon. This is Chicken Little garbage — you can’t fear Pek getting an outlandish offer from another squad AND think it will take more than just him to get Varejao — you’re simultaneously devaluing and overvaluing your starting center. Speaking of overvaluing…

As long as Pau Gasol is a Laker, trade rumors will percolate, and as they do, they will always include the Wolves.

The fact is Kahn and Adelman love the thought of Gasol in their offense. Adelman’s recipe for success in Sacramento was due in large part to Chris Webber and Vlade Divac. The Wolves look at Love and Gasol as comparable to that duo.

Gasol is an excellent passer. Adelman loves big men who excel at that. A team source said Taylor is willing to go over the luxury tax for the 2013-14 season if the right deal presents itself. With a salary of nearly $20 million next year, Gasol fits that mold.

To acknowledge the absurdity and then feed the hype, now that’s journalism. Gasol as a 3rd big? Like Varejao, I don’t see how anyone can say no. But Gasol’s knees, age and contract make me want to call the Cavs back and talk about Derrick Williams progress.

Sources say the Wolves are big fans of Orlando’s J.J. Redick.

An unrestricted free agent this summer, the indication is he’s going somewhere. The Wolves are the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA, so Redick is an obvious fit.

It’d take forward Derrick Williams, plus a future first-round pick just to get into the discussion. There will be plenty of teams after Redick.

The best bet is that Kahn does something, but it may not be until the week, or even the day of the deadline.

Little disappointing the biggest need of this Wolves’ squad is left for closing quotations. The reluctance of the NBA’s struggling clubs to part with their most prized veteran without some building blocks-worth of compensation is the yearly drama. How to get your hands on one of them without paying too steep a price? That’s what separates the trade deadline winners from the losers.


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Tags: Anderson Varejao JJ Redick Minnesota Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic

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