Okay, folks, we're going to make this somewhat brief for now. It is Friday afternoon, the sun is shining, and I'm sure you have a ton of draft coverage to read through so we won't take up too much of your time.
While the final transactions have yet to be announced, last night was a pretty good draft for the Wolves. While the team still has a long way to go if they ever want to crack 30 or even 20 wins, this was a great display of valuing assets and doing the best you can to maximize returns on pieces we quite frankly did not need. A few points and implications:
1. Derrick Williams.
Derrick, who will wear #7, was the complete logical pick. While his size and quickness are questionable, he has a great power game and a very solid outside shot. A safe pick who will struggle to find minutes in our rotation. If the Wolves fail to consolidate and go after the veteran player they so dearly need, the frontcourt situation could not turn out pretty. In a vacuum, this pick was great, but only if we follow it up with some consolidation and maneuvering. Otherwise it simply will not work out. There aren't enough minutes and too many guys in need of playing time.
2. Cash Considerations Were the Steal of the Draft
I can't stress this enough.
Look, owners can be greedy slimeballs. No one likes to see teams sell draft picks. No one likes to see talent go to the wayside in favor of insignificant cash allocations....but in the case of the Wolves I am FULLY in support of acquiring cash for one reason: so we can pay off Rambis.
Whether we agree with the underlying approach to the situation or not, one can speculate with a pretty high degree of certainty that Taylor and Co. were not excited about paying off the $4 million owed to Kurt Rambis. My best guess is Kahn, directed by ownership, held out on the firing until after the draft so he could acquire as much cash as needed in order to facilitate the Rambis buyout. Now that he (hopefully) has, he can has the green light to fire Kurt.
Now, whether you think of this as being ethical, sensible, normal, want to slam the hiring in hindsight...whatever....this is our reality. Our status quo. It is out of Kahn's or our control, and we need to accept the fact that Rambis was in danger of staying because of his contract. Past mistakes be damned, hiring a new coach is high on any Wolves fan's wishlist. We were in heavy danger of bringing back a coach who amassed 32 wins total in two seasons with an offense and defensive identity so out of whack that Corey Brewer was trusted to drive to the basket and pull up for contested mid-range jumpshots, while he allowed wide open three pointers on the other end. It was complete, utter, insanity. And yet some wanted to keep Donatas Montiejunas (or draft Marshon "franchise savior" Brooks) instead? That's more insane than Rambis' player development model.
With these cash considerations acquired and Rambis (hopefully?) bought out soon, the cash could make a larger impact on the Wolves' win column than any player in the entire draft could have made, including Derrick Williams. And that is not a knock on Derrick Williams. If these cash considerations were the key to letting Rambis go, then give me them seven days a week. Getting him out of town will make such a positive impact on the team that it makes the idea of taking a flyer on some mediocre #20 pick everyone overrates (BUT GRANGER WAS PICKED AROUND THERE ONCEOMGOMGZOMG!!) who would play 4 minutes a game next year an hilarious afterthought. Would you have rather kept Montiejunas or fired Rambis? Be rational and focus on the on court product rather than bitterness of the Rambis system/hiring/whatever. Kahn was able to maintain the #2 prospect in the draft while getting rid of Flynn, and picking up Brad Miller's insured contract and anywhere between 3-4 additional draft picks, and they still ended up with Malcolm Lee and Ngombo (although not for long) in the end. And Rambis is all but gone....and yet, what is the problem, here?
3. Malcolm Lee and Tanguy Ngombo
What impresses me about this draft is that the Wolves didn't pull a Lazar Hayward and take Malcolm at #20. Instead they bumped back to the proper position and took him at #43 while picking up a cache' of goodies. The #20 pick netted the Wolves more than what Miami got for Michael Beasley. Malcolm is a solid prospect coming from a great program and many say he is a 2nd round steal. However, if history suggests anything, the Wolves won't carry more than 13 players on the roster. We have 14 guaranteed contracts as of today. The reality is, unless consolidation occurs, it might be tough for Malcolm to make the team. I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't. So, let's not get our hopes up (but Manu, Monta and Arenas were 2nd rounders once!!!!!!!!!).
Not much is known about Ngombo. It seems unlikely he will ever even come close to playing in the NBA. It wouldn't shock anyone I'm sure if he were never heard from again. UPDATE: In fact, a report surfaced today that he has been busted for lying about his age and he is actually tuning 27 in a couple of weeks! Could this mean we lose his rights? More on this as it comes....
If anyone can properly name and spell all of our Eurocanish stashes overseas I will perhaps provide a treat.
4. What it all means
The Wolves did a great job of amassing talent and maximizing the value of their assets. It will be interesting to see the final parameters of the trades when they are all finalized. Sometimes added assets and surprises come out of the woodworks that were previously unreported.
At this point, though, the Wolves are headed right back toward another awful season with no 1st round pick next year to ease the losses. While the draft was handled nicely in a vacuum, in a way we needed to trade this pick in the absolute worst way to acquire a high impact player with more that 17 NBA starts (for those Gortat fans out there). And the reality is, Kahn tried vehemently to deal this pick and he failed to do it. It was priority numero uno. And he couldn't pull it off. So while Kahn handled the draft well, is the guy capable of making a trade for an established player, or will we forever be characterized by our reclamation ability while pushing back our windows of opportunity? At some point consolidation must occur, the logjam must be eased for many reasons: 1. Wins (team as it stands is still a bottom feeder). 2. Rotation and development 3. Contracts and imminent extensions. We simply won't have enough money to retain all of our young players, plain and simple, and Kahn is running out of time. And people who will even talk to him (but that's another story).
Thoughts on the draft? Check out the forums or leave a comment. 5 days 'til lockout :(
Also, fun fact in closing: Kyrie Irving has only 5 hours of NCAA college basketball experience and was picked first overall.
That is all. Highly repetetive (to the rest of the world) draft recap to follow. Too much going on and ducks need to be aligned and heads screwed back on.
Initial thought? Not a bad draft for the Wolves. And of course a vet trade did not happen. Of course. Who's shocked? Probably many.
Derrick Williams was the pick. I like it and am glad we didn't get cute if the vet trade wasn't up to standards.
Solid idea to trade back for Malcolm Lee, an excellent value selection, rather than take him at #20. Yeah...let's sleep on this.
Oh, and the Brad Miller era has begun, (in 2012 when he recovers from surgery). Ladies and gentlemen, your veteran addition:
Well, the day is upon us. Two months after the Wolves' horrid season ends, we have come to draft day. The Wolves hold the #2 and #20 picks, no second rounders, and have been the subject of a barrage of rumors.
Andre Iguodala, Pau Gasol, Monta Ellis, Andrew Bogut, Josh Smith, Marcin Gortat, Steve Nash, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom have all been mentioned as potential trade targets. The #2 pick holds the most value for us in tradeable options.
What will happen? Can Kahn pull some magic? Can he make his first meaningful trade, for an established player, of his career? Do teams even work with us anymore? Too many questions. We will find out tonight.
It may be wise to lower expectations a bit. Every Kahn Window of Opportunity has produced a zombie-army of armchair GM speculation with none other than Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry's mumu and sports bra to show for it. It seems very real that all of the allure of a good move will come crashing down when no deal materializes. Not trying to be negative, just temper expectations a bit so one can enjoy their evening.
My prediction: Wolves draft and keep Williams, and trade the #20 pick for either a 2nd rounder and cash to pay the Rambis buyout, or 2 2nd rounders. I don't think Kahn has it in him to acquire the player we all covet.
But that's just me. Only a few hours way.....thoughts? Feel free to join the forum conversations on draft night or head down to Target Center at 5:30 for the draft party. A few of us staffers and friends will be there. Look for the group of eight or so standing on the edge of the Hennepin Avenue bridge after Kahn trades the #2 pick for Matt Bonner and come say hi.no comments
Decision will be announced after the draft. Sheesh, what a week.
Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn has decided to fire coach Kurt Rambis, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Kahn isn’t expected to announce the decision until after Thursday’s NBA draft, but he’s already begun collecting information on prospective replacements for Rambis, sources said.
Kahn met with Rambis last week and believes he has reached an impasse with the coach. The relationship between Kahn and Rambis deteriorated over the course of the past season, to the point where there’s been little communication between them.
Rambis has two years left on his original four-year contract. With the Timberwolves in the midst of a major rebuilding project, he went 32-132 as their coach, including a league-worst 17-65 this season.
Each year around draft time, I McHale it. I head deep into the Canadian wilderness for five days, away from any form of communication, employment/female obligations, or NBA news. Nothing but a fishing pole and my thoughts. I even drive through Hibbing, Minnesota en route, home of McHale. It is very bittersweet because I often miss out on draft day and the buzz surrounding it, but I make due. However, this year I will be in town for the draft for the 2nd time in about six years, and in turn it should be a pretty exciting day for the Wolves. While I was up north I pondered what I might etch out upon my return and came up with the following. And while the myriad of trade rumors that have materialized are perhaps making some of this irrelevant, I am going forth.
It seems that no matter what happens, the Wolves will trade the #2 selection. I can't say I disagree with this, for the right package, but there are several negative implications that may present themselves with such a move. Or any move, really, which is why so many seem to have come to the conclusion that having the #2 pick is actually a bit of, dare I say it, a bit of a negative. Any follower of our forum discussions can easily see the direction this team should go in is surprisingly split, with opinions oscillating by the hour (myself included). So what direction should we go in? Does any direction present a clear-cut, obvious solution, especially in lieu of a new CBA with heavier cap restrictions? Not really. Below I will outline three directions the Wolves could go on Thursday, and why each scenario may present its own individual challenges.
Going into this, it bears mentioning the value of the #2 selection as an asset, but also the player attached to it. Too often it seems we fall into this idea that the mystique and allure of a pick number must mean great things, or that it is worth more than present rotation players. But in reality, few draft picks succeed to the level the Wolves need to get over the hump. Many #2 overall picks flop, while many #10 picks prosper. It is all a crap shoot. With that said, what is our best chance to a) upgrade this roster and start winning games and b) maximize the value of the #2 overall selection in a draft, an asset The Wolves have never had?
1. Keep the Pick and Select Derrick Williams
Click read more to see the rest of the scenarios
We've got a special update today all about my new crush, Senior Rubio. First off, Ricky's introductory press conference was at Target Center this morning. I attended it, which was pretty fanastic and awe-inducing (he looks even sexier in real life than he does in photos.) He was so funny, charming, and just darn likeable. Plus how can you not love the accent and broken English? Sorry, but I was eating it up. Ricky is already turning me into a 14 year old girl. ZOMG I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HIM PLAY FOR US NEXT SEASON!!!!!!!1
I had even done real journalistic stuff, like take notes and crap like that, but then I found the entire Rubio press conference on Youtube. So I'll just post that below the fold, rather than attempt to decipher what I passed off as notes. I will say, pay attention to the questions from Senile Sid Hartman. My goodness, someone just needs to put him out of his misery. First, Sid asked why his stats were so bad last season in Europe, and with that in mind, what makes Ricky any good? Fail. Ricky's response to that is just classic.
Sid followed it up later with this gem: "The hot rumor is you're gonna trade this guy and the #2 overall draft pick for 'Gah-sole' from LA?" My goodness Sid, really? The Kahnman then adamently denies any possible Rubio trade EVER (obviously not, after waiting this long... and DURING Ricky's press conference), at which point Ricky chimes in with a quiet "Thanks." That cracked everyone up. Myself included.
While introducing his family: "And my pretty sister... she doesn't have a boyfriend." More laughs all-around. What a swell guy. SO WITTY.
So like I said, below the fold we've got all the videos for his press conference, some pictures of Ricky in a TWolves uniform for the first time, and a special guest article titled "Rubio Brings Strength to a Dysfuncational Family" from valued TWolves Blog Forum Member "YWG"; also known as Matt Dahlseid from 'Sota Sports.
Please click "Read More" for all the Ricky Rubio mania that you can handle...
Behind that man patting himself vigorously on the back is the one and only Ricky Rubio. You'd think Paul McCartney was getting off that plane if it wasn't all guys cheering. Thanks to everyone who showed up for this. It is great that the Wolves fans represented.no comments
There were three big steps Minnesota needed to make to start heading out of obscuritytown this offseason…
1. Sign Rubio. Complete!
2. Draft Derrick Williams. Pending.
3. Deal Beasley and get a real center OR an upgrade at shooting guard. Long way off…
I think the team is still pretty in love with Wes Johnson's potential, and adding Derrick Williams necessitates sending Beasley away. Darko proved he's a capable backup, but pretty awful as a starter, so common sense tells me that's our next move. Either sign a center, or trade for one. If we sign one, the obvious move is to pair Beas with something to get Demar DeRozan.
Of the potential Center options, these seemed like the best to me:
Samuel Dalembert - The main problem with trying to acquire Dalembert is that the Wolves probably don't have the cap room to get it done. Looks like Minnesota will have around $50 million in salary when it's all said and done (draft + Rubio), and it's possible Sammy D could get more elsewhere. The Salary Cap is supposed to be around $58 million, but it could all change when the new CBA is in place. I've always been a fan of his rebounding/shot-blocking, and it would fit in nicely here. He's just better at it than Darko. Plus, ATHLETICISM!no comments
ESPN.com is currently running a headline that Ricky Rubio may not be heading to Minnesota after all.
If you actually read the article, you'll see that it's nothing more than pure unfounded speculation that is being drummed up by the Worldwide Leader in order to create some off-season NBA buzz after their very own posterboys, the Miami Heat, went down in flames. Clearly "We are talking to Barcelona and we will soon see" is synonymous with "I will not play for the Minnesota Timberwolves". Ricky's other quote, that he was "very happy" that his team won the Spanish League Title, also indicates that he has no intention of coming to the NBA this season. If you click on the Sports Nation poll located on that page, you'll also see that 59% of the masses believe that Rubio will be playing for Barcelona next season after hearing about these hard-hitting quotes.
Personally, I tend to believe the reports that came out a few weeks back that Rubio had already inked a deal with the Wolves and was just respectfully waiting for his team's season to end before making an announcment. Those reports aligned perfectly with both logic and the NBA collective bargaining agreement. The fact that he didn't don his T-Wolves jersey the second after the final buzzer sounded is no cause for concern. Let's all give Ricky a little time to enjoy his team's championship and soak it all in before he makes his big announcement. If we haven't heard something by this time next week, then it's time to hit the panic button.
In all seriousness, the Timberwolves simply cannot afford the massive backlash that would come from Ricky remaining in Spain, especially after those reports of him coming leaked out. If the Wolves had any indication that Rubio may not play for the team, they would have vehemently denied those reports instead of giving the very transparent "no comment" response. To do otherwise would have been setting the scene for a PR nightmare that would undoubtedly upstage LeBron's "go back to their lives" comment as the biggest gaffe this summer. David Kahn may have made some questionable moves and said some dumb things in the past, but there's no way he's stupid enough to let the Ricky Rubio novela play out that way.