Over in our forums, the offseason grading has begun. How are we feeling about the flurry of moves that occurred over the last week? I would say the tone in the forums here is generally negative, for various reasons. Most seem to have particular gripes with contract terms and defensive voids. Let's check in on the pulse now that the dust is settled and the roster is basically set. I'll let DaddyFatSax start us off:
Flip deserves a solid C- for his work. Perhaps as high as a C+ if you are super glass-half full. I shall run down how the offseason is shaking out. Let me know what I miss.
The Draft. Take a step back. All indications are that Flip wanted KCP with the ninth pick (none of us were in love with him, whatever). There were impact players to be had, all Flip had to do was to move up 3-2 spots in a draft where GM's were looking for reasons to give up a pick. Instead he panicked and moved down 5 spots after he lost his guy because he assumed his next guy (Olynyk???!?) would be available. He was not. The Celtics had made it no secret they would target the Christian Laettner- resembling gazelle. This was just, quite simply, a terribly run draft process. Notice I haven't even mentioned the phenomballa himself, Mr. Muhammad. The selection is irrelevant. The point is that he fell back on his FOURTH option because he failed three times in a row (if what Doogie and others tweet is the truth). Flip had a rough time with the draft. Fail.
Free Agency. Wow. Start with Brewer. Clearly I irrationally love him. Brewer on the Wolves means Brewer and Rubio get to play together. Awesome. However, Flipnosis paid him as much as TONY ALLEN! He got FIVE MILLION DOLLARS! If that isn't the overpay of the off-season, I can't tell you what is. I can hear the argument that they may have overpaid by $1.5 million or so a year. Ok, hold on to that number for later.
Kevin Martin...Ya'll are tripping. Dude was injured much of last year and then played third fiddle in OKC with fewer shots and involvement than he is used to. I don't see decline in his game yet. He will easily put up 20 points this year of efficient basketball. Overpaid? I think once he drops in a dub a night quite efficiently it will look fine. He's not a two-way player, however. That's the problem. So for 2 year or so, I like the contract, but they signed him for like 19 years it feels like. So while his value is higher to the Wolves than most teams, the length of the contract could bite the team in the ass. What team was going to give this guy 4 years $6 million? I'm not sure many would have, other than probably the Bucks, and he'd rather play in MN.
C-Bud...overpay. Yea. He was injured and did nothing last year plus he wanted to return here. Though if the rumblings from Doogie of him turning down bigger money are true, fair enough. A healthy C-Bud is a damn good role player, however. Plus he will improve a bit, he's young and still finding his game here. I don't have much issue here if they were at risk of losing him, I guess. Still...that is big money for somebody who has done little.
Pek - I'll assume they resign him...let's wait to see how this develops.
Turiaf???! Aahahah. Yea right. He was trash on the Clippers. Veteran my ass. how much would Ivan Johnson command? How about Dalembert (probably too much)? Maxiell...Is he a free agent? Chris Wilcox!? He's much better as a 2nd or 3rd backup. Jeez. That signing was clearly about name recognition.
Additionally, this team GAVE UP a second rounder to get rid of Luke?! So while the Raptors made out like kings in the Bargnani trade and the Warriors found a way to rid themselves of their trash, the Wolves can't rid themselves of a GOOD player without giving up a pick?! Milwaukee JUST traded Prince Akeem Joffer for jackshit. The Wolves could have taken that defensive ace for Luke instead of Brewer's longer, bigger contract.
Big overpay for Turbo. Overpay for at least one of Budinger or Martin. Probably dumping $12+ a year into Pekovic. Flip could not secure ONE bargain deal. The effect of this inability is several million dollars tied up between these players that could otherwise go to someone else. Hell, bypassing Corey Brewer and Budinger completely for a run at Iggy would have been better (but unrealistic?).
In all, this is a highly inefficient and inflexible way of building a good team. They are good, and could get as high as the 6th seed (my prediction is 8th). Though the improvement we will see is deceptive. Health will play as big a factor as the Martin/Brewer additions.
I give Flip a B- for the draft, and a D+ for free agency. I think they absolutely butchered it. No AK, and Pek hasn't even resigned yet. Those two moves could have maybe bumped the Free Agency grade up to like a C+ or so, but not much more than that. Terrible offseason, and terrible FA overpays. Heck, even 4 years $50 for Pek is too much. Obviously we still have to resign him, but it's just too much. No other team has even made him an offer yet, and they are all running out of cap space!
I'm also not really convinced Budinger is all that good. He is below average defensively... and what does he do? Shoot 3's? He shot like 32% last year for 3pters. And on top of all that, he tore up his knee. AND we signed Kevin Martin, who will presumably shoot a lot of 3's.
In no way whatsoever is that worth $5+ million per year.
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First, we will regret passing on McSmeagol (Ed: Wolfenstein's creative nickname for CJ McCollum. McCollum = McGollum = McSmeagol. Get it?). Mark. My. Worgs. Dude can hoop. He will get major buckets soon in his career. He was hamstrung by the fact that he looks like and is built somewhat like Randy Foye which meant Flip would have gotten killed for picking him in Minnesota.
Re: Brewer, Budinger, Luke, and Martin... I am thinking there is basically $4M of overpay per year there. I like Brewer. He and Rubio = awesome, unpredictable, chaotic basketball destructive beauty. However, call it 2 years, $9M or 3 yrs, $12M. $15M is a bit heavy. Same deal for Chase, I think he and Corey are similar caliber players, although Chase has upside.
Martin you could *easily* sell me on 2 years, $16M with a team option for year 3, or fully guaranteed 3 years $20M or something. Why Minnesotans are such shitty negotiators I will never understand. This is not your neighbor bumping into you at your Lutheran Potluck. This is someone trying to take your boss's money and making it harder for your organization to be successful.
Luke absolutely should have resulted in picks coming back our way, or we should have held onto him until the deadline. Oh wait, we couldn't do that because we overpaid a bunch of roleplayers and then signed an end of bench guy for no reason (I like Turiaf, but come on).
I give Flip a D grade. He doesn't get an F only because the Kevin Martin signing was actually good. The draft, the Brewer and Turiaf signings, and the Ridnour trade were so fail. Very Kahn-like. If he somehow messes up the Pek situation, this offseason will be the ultimate failure. Worse than the Jonny Flynn pick.
Turiaf doesn't appear to be too bad of a signing considering this Dieng character looks like he hasn't played basketball a day in his life in summer league so far. As far as the signings, I'm taking a wait and see approach. Most early projections have us as a playoff team and this roster is much better than last year. A healthy Love and Rubio should finally arrive after a season and a half of waiting. I want to see how the team can actually play in Adelman's system. Last year with all the injuries it couldn't even be run
I think to really grade this offseason, you really have to consider the context. Are you grading from a financial standpoint or a basketball standpoint? The main gripe people seem to have is with how much money was given out to Corey Brewer and Chase Budinger. These are fair gripes if such matters keep you awake at night. But the gripe always seems to be paired with something like "well....well.... we should have just not bothered with either and then targeted Iggy instead!" Well....there are $14 million reasons per year why that guy is not exactly a "value signing."
If you are grading on pure use of financial resources, then yes, he gets a C or below and there is really no arguing with it. But I have not kept it a secret I am sick and tired of people wasting their energy shouting "this guy is overpaid." If Martin were to have signed a 2 year deal instead, people would be bitching that he will just "bolt to a contender in two years." Etc. Typical Wolves-fan logic: whine when Glen is cheap and whine even louder when he spends.
What is most important, and I think everyone here including me gets caught up in too much of the non-basketball related aspect of this stuff, is that this is a pretty versatile team that is much more intelligently built around the strengths of our best players, particularly Rubio. I adored AK and understand his impact well and am surely in defense mechanism/denial mode....but surrounding Ricky with knockdown shooters just seems to make way too much sense. Sure, an extra year or two were given out to get negotiations smoothed over quicker, but none of us know which player had which option from which team. The reality is that Chase and Brew are league average salary or below and have enough value as plus players (of which they both are) to be movable if really desired. Neither are albatross contracts.
Turiaf above the minimum and trading a pick with Luke are definite head scratchers, although both minor complaints in the grand scheme of course. We are also remarkably weak at the backup center position. I'm not comfortable with Dieng starting when Pek gets hurt. Maybe Love will play center though.
Roundhouse: D grade? Nothing for resigning Bud for less than what other teams were offering? Nothing for getting a much more balanced roster? The draft wasn't the best obviously, but it was far from a fail. Dieng is a solid pick and will be a solid player. We don't get him w/o that trade. Furthermore, that draft messed everyone up besides the Cavs. Brewer also got a deal on par w/what other offers he was gettting. Thus if the wolves overpaid him, which i think we did, then its an nba problem and not a wolves problem. Turiaf was an excellent signing. Veteran reliable big man for cheap. Exactly what we needed b/c you know Pek is going to miss 20 games w/ankle-foot issues and Dieng is a rookie. If you cannot see the simple sense of getting Turiaf you have no business writing a blog or pretty much anything concerning basketball. Ridnour had to go, everyone knew it and when everyone knows it the price drops. Its as simple as that. Kahn like? No Kahn would've kept 4 PG's on the roster and only Pek with a rookie back-up. Conclusion: you completely, utterly, absolutely and hopelessly failed. Try again.
Murphs56: IDK if you only watched the 1st summer league game or what, but Dieng looked pretty good by the last game. Agree w/the rest of your take. nice job.
Agree with you on the Iggy take, he is very over-valued and really hasn't done anything thus far into his career. Grading on financial use a C? Well I am going to show you that there is an 'arguing with it". Bud turned down more money to come here, that's an A. Brewer's offer was similar to what he was getting from other teams, thus no worse than a C. Pek is getting market value for a skilled, talented big man, who can also make free throws and actually has a brain and a pair. Splitter is getting 9M/yr and is a complete and utter wuss. Pek is far superior to him. KMart's deal is also a solid deal. He is a legit starting SG and is getting 7M/yr....that's a very solid financial deal for the wolves. Yes, perhaps that last year will show a decline, but if he avgs 16ppg over that contract its a steal.
I agree, a balanced team that was gathered with Adelman's system in mind. Nicely put.
Turiaf, I understand why we got him and i'm sure he was getting offers from other teams. I can also understand Luke's deal. Everyone knew he or JJ had to go, when everyone knows, the price drops and sweetners become mandatory. Going to have to wait and see what that 2nd rounder turns out to be.
Turiaf will be our back up C with Dieng getting spot mpg unless/until an injury happens.
CollegeWolf: D+ for free agency? after he finally brought in a legit starting SG, got a rounded-balanced roster? ah, ok. sure. whatever. AK wasn't worth 10.1M this coming season. end of story. Obviously you are not familiar with what talented bigs are getting money-wise in the NBA. Pek's contract is on par w/skilled starting big-men. Splitter got 9M/yr and Pek is much better than he is. Much better. Yes, no other team has made an offer, still doesn't change things. You want to low-ball him so he signs the qualifying offer and then you either A) end up paying him next year anyways, or lose him for nothing. Thus in summation: you pay now, pay later, or lose him for nothing. I'll take the former thank you. C-Bud is a very solid player who has had steady stats and shown steady improvement every single season. Furthermore, he understands the game and what the coach is trying to do. C-Bud does everything..he can shoot, finish, drive, decent handles, understands the concept of team defense, etc. Bud only played 20-some games last year as you mentioned, yet you want to harp on his FG% in that span but not look at his career avgs? not to bright pal. Finally, Bud is getting 4M/yr and turned down more to resign here. how you like those apples? Clearly you have never played real competitive ball or you would understand much better.
Wolfenstein: I can understand why we passed on McCollum w/JJ and Luke already on the roster. Draft McCollum and you won't be able to get rid of either for anything and likely will have to throw in sweetners to get them off your books. POR has an interesting problem as he and Lillard can't play together or the opposing SG will have a field day in the post, mandating double-teams and putting strain on the team D.
Bud turned down more money to come back here, thus not sure how that is an overpay. Brewer also got a competitive salary based on what other offers he had received. Thus if they are overpaid its a league thing and not a Wolves things. Bud is far more dependable than Brewer is as far as their all around game goes. Bud has better handles, finishes better, shoots better, etc. Brewer plays better D.
KMart is a solid guy, I have no problem w/the years or money. He is a legit starting SG who is making 7M/yr...in my eyes that is a bargain. That last year might not yield as much, but that's what happens in FA in small markets. KMart deal making it harder to be successful? ah, no, it helps the wolves be successful. If he avgs 16ppg over the contract it was a solid deal.
Problem with Luke is everyone knew we had to get rid of either him or JJ and since Luke has only 1yr left, it was going to be him. When GM's know you have to get rid of someone, the value plummets like the marianis trench. I could see hanging on to him, but we also needed another big, as you now Pek is going to be out 20 games or so w/foot-ankle issues, and Dieng is a rookie. Thus we needed that roster spot for a big. Had absolutely nothing to do w/the other FA contracts handed out. We don't need 3pg's on the roster, 4 if you count Shved...we did need another back-up big. Thus, we did not sign Turiaf for 'no reason'. Did you ever play basketball outside of old man leagues and pick-up games? I mean seriously?!?!
DaddyFatSax: For starters let me say, you are wrong on a great many things. Muhammad was a bad pick, you got that part right; however, that is the only part you got right. Dieng was a solid, excellent pick and was only possible b/c of that deal. Move up 2-3 spots? GM's looking to dump those picks? Yeah for a pick in next years draft that is predicted to be absolutely loaded, and/or one of our better players. You make it seem like Flip passed up on moving up when he was given 'offers he couldn't refuse'. far from it. McLemore, presumably one of your 'impact players to be had' showed absolutely nothing in summer league. Granted its summer league, but still.
If you truly 'irrationally love' Brewer than you need immediate, intensive psychiatric help accompanied with high doses of antipsychotics. Brewer got very similar offers to what the Wolves gave him, thus he came at market price. Tony Allen isn't all that great either.
If Martin avoids any serious injuries and avgs 16ppg over that contract it was a solid deal. He's getting paid avg starting SG money.
We did not overpay for C-Bud. 4M/yr for a solid SF is an excellent deal. He can shoot, drive, finish, has decent handles, and understands the game and what the coach is trying to accomplish. Someone who has done little? If by little you mean, improve each year, steady stat numbers, respectable percentages, etc.....C-Bud is a very reliable player.
We overpaid for Pek, plain and simple. However, do you risk insulting him w/a low offer since no others were made, having him sign the one-year tender and potentially lose him for nothing next year, or having to pay him anyways next year? Pek is a skilled big man who can shoot free throws and who also happens to have a brain. Those guys aren't cheap in the NBA.
Turiaf is also another vet who will help Dieng and the rest of the bigs particularly since you know Pek is going to be out 20 games w/ankle-foot problems. Solid presence, solid pick-up. Dalembert? pfff. Maxiel...now your being funny. Wilcox...ludicrous. Or it was clearly about getting a solid back-up big for cheap who has been on winning teams.
NYK--who would you really want from that team? They had a plethora of guards already and were looking for a big, and we were not dealing ours. So why would they have had any interest in Luke or any of our other players who we would've gotten rid of?? Big expiring deals are attractive, especially w/the upcoming draft class. Moute a defensive ace? oh please. take your meds.
I'd say Martin was a deal. Solid starting SG for 7M/yr is a very solid deal. Iggy? You mean the can't shoot SF whose teams have never done anything? Iggy on the already deficient shooting wolves....yeah there is a match made in heaven. Iggy? After you spent how much of your post whining about overpaid guys. Ironic.
LAC, Hou, OKC, GSW....IMO after that its a toss-up. SAS will age at some point and Ginobli already showed it, Duncan will be 39 this season, they lost Blair, etc. MEM will depend on their new coach. POR will be solid and fighting for a spot. Plus, a healthy wolves team has always given OKC problems. Denver took a big hit this offseason. GSW lost quite a few of its bigs and is very vulnerable inside and it all hinges on Curry's ankle(s).
Health plays a factor in every acquisition genius.
Conclusion: you fail, try again or stop wasting air.
@DaveHoule WOW, quite the comment! Thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you around more often Dave!
I stand by my comments! Starting Pek at a supposed $50 million offer was idiocy, but I guess they simply can't afford to lose him at this point. Ugh....
@CollegeWolf Okay. How would you have handled it?