I’ve discussed McFail’s trade history on this blog before, but I feel like it deserves a quick peek before going into what’s out there as far as trades this off season.
For the most part the trades that the Wolves Braintrust have made usually don’t work out, at least right off the bat. Sure, Donyell Marshall for Tom Gugliotta was a solid trade that immediately paid dividends, but it usually takes another deal to really make that deal count for something (turning down the Googs for Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell deal still hurts though). Take the Ray Allen-for-Stephon Marbury swap. It was pretty good for a couple years. It resulted in the first trip to the playoffs and first 50-win season in franchise history. Then Steph turned into Starbury and became the crazy psycho he is today. Well, then we turned Starbury into Terrell Brandon and had a solid point guard for two and a half seasons until his wheel broke, then we were stuck with MWII – that’s Michael Williams II if you didn’t catch it. But we’re not done yet. We then turned TBEC – that’s Terrell Brandon’s Expiring Contract – into Latrell Sprewell. That, with some other help, got the Wolves into the Western Conference Finals in 2004. Not bad really. Ray Allen netted us the players that got us into the playoffs for the first time and, eventually, a trip to the Conference Finals. It took nearly a decade to happen, but it happened. So trading Ray Allen was a good thing?
Now another deal is trying to make its way into that company.
Boy, remember that Joe Smith contract? Yeah, that was special, especially since we just signed him to it a year later anyways - $11 million a year, for that slug? Seems excessive for a guy who’s career is based on taking charges. So in 2003 we sent him, along with Anthony Peeler, to the Bucks for Ervin Johnson and Sam Cassell (who we almost acquired when we traded for TB). That, along with the “Ray Allen Trade” put us in the Conference Finals as we discussed above. Then, once again, the Wolves point guard situation devolved into a psychological nightmare and we shipped two s’s and two l’s to the Clip ship for MJ. No, not that one. For Marko Jaric.
A couple of seasons later, after returning to a life of futility, we decided to turn Walter Robert Szczerbiak and Michael Olowokandi, into Ricky Davis and Mark Blount with the hopes that they may change our fortunes. Not so much. After further burrowing into a world of hurt, the unthinkable happened (not going to mention it now), which nearly emptied the state of fans. Six months later we tricked Miami into taking out some of our trash. Buckets and Blount were kicked out of town, and Antoine Walker arrived, ready to contribute to a young and supposedly budding team. Aw, but then he spent the vast majority of the season whining about not playing and warming seats on the end of the bench. On a positive note though, the suits he wore made him look less fat than the jersey did.
Four years of keeping Marko confused and a half season of making Toine pout led us to the second worst record in the NBA (behind Miami, funny enough) and the third pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. As we know, OJ Mayo was a member of the Wolves for about 2 hours longer than Ray Allen was. Four straight seasons without a playoff appearance finally put us in a position to “complete” the “Joe Smith Trade” and the “Walter Szczerbiak Trade.” Marko, Toine, and OJ were exchanged for Mike Miller and Kevin Love. So basically we traded Wally World and Joe Smith for Mike Miller and Kevin Love (I figure OJ is part of Joe because of all the draft picks he cost us). That doesn’t sound that bad. Of course, what we don’t know is if this is the final stop for this trade or if the positives of this trade will be realized in a later deal.
With that said, let’s move onto what other deals we could start this off season.
Our needs in the trade market are pretty much identical to our needs in free agency. We need a point guard, a shooting guard, and possibly a bigger big.
There are a ton of players that have been mentioned in various trade rumors, or have said to be available. Joe Dumars ranted about his entire roster being available except for Rodney Stuckey and Jason Maxiell but we don’t have the pieces or cap room to get anything of value from them, namely Tayshaun Prince or Chauncey Billups. Not that I’d necessarily want either player’s contract. Marcus Camby and Kirk Hinrich have been mentioned a lot, although word is that they may be dealt for each other. Hinrich to Golden State for Al Harrington has been mentioned in the wake of Baron Davis’ jump to the Clip ship. Now that Corey Maggette opted out he could be had in a sign-and-trade, but there are far more attractive teams for him to join. Boris Diaw and Leandro Barbosa have both been tagged as available, although they’re expensive and we don’t have an experienced point guard to send the Suns, which they’re seeking.
There are also a handful of players who are available whom I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. Jamaal Tinsley and Shawne Williams are supposedly being shopped by Indiana. Unless you’re having a weed smoking or cap peeling contest you have nothing to gain by acquiring either of those “gentlemen.” Charlie Bell and Nate Robinson only pretend to be point guards, while Ron Artest is Ron Artest. All I can say is I pray that McHale doesn’t view any of those guys like he did Ricky Davis or Darrick Martin.
So that leaves us with a group of players that have been mentioned in other trades, or have been made “publicly” available, that may hold some value for our franchise.
Raymond Felton PG Charlotte Bobcats
He’s a pretty good player and, although a little short, he’s strong and quick. He can definitely play both ends of the floor. After drafting D.J. Augustin, word is that the Bobcats patience has worn thin with Felton and that they might be looking to move him. Of course he seems to be mentioned almost every year, so who knows how much of a reality his availability is. A future first rounder (or a number of second-rounders) and some trash may net us a starting-calibur point guard.
Luke Ridnour and Kyle Lowry have also been named in a number of trade rumors. Seattle has a bit of a point guard controversy between Ridnour and Earl Watson, with Watson being the winner last year. Before the Sonics traded Delonte West, Ridnour was battling him for third place in the pecking order. Although the Sonics seem to have settled on Watson as their starter, a recent thumb injury may dictate what they do about Ridnour. Kyle Lowry has been on the block since before the Pau Gasol trade and the talk has done nothing but heat up since they acquired Javaris Crittenton and Marko. He’s not necessarily starting quality now, but he could develop into a part-time starter or solid backup. It doesn’t hurt that he and Randy Foye played well together at Villanova.
Ronnie Brewer SG Utah Jazz
Ronnie burst onto the scene a year ago as a solid scorer, starting 76 games for the Jazz last season. He’s a 6’7” slasher who could be a Sprewell-style compliment to Mike Miller’s dead-eye shooting. Brewer averaged 12 points per game while playing just under 30 minutes a night. Utah has recently shown interest in Ryan Gomes so there could be some talks between the Jazz and the Wolves. Hopefully his name gets mentioned.
J.J. Redick (for good measure) and Damien Wilkins have spent the better part of the past year complaining about their lack of playing time while being relatively unproductive when they did see action. That being said, both have some talent and a change of scenery could be what the doctor ordered. Redick would be a little redundant with Mike Miller in the mix but then again, you can never have too many great shooters. With new star Kevin Durant taking up time at shooting guard for the Sonics and the fact that the contract Wilkins is under right now was the one the Wolves offered three years ago, there may be enough mutual interest to get conversations going.
Obviously I don’t have any idea what’s going to happen, but the way the roster is built right now, something definitely needs to happen if the Wolves expect to compete at all next season.
Also, in case you forgot.