Earlier today I mentioned that if Kahn's recent interview with Strib author Tom Powers was merely meant to temper expectations, and if the T-Wolves do indeed make a move at the deadline to acquire an impact perimeter scorer, then I might have to reevaluate my opinion of his performance as GM. (You can read the article HERE.)
One of the great truths of business, and of life, is to always underpromise and overdeliver. This more than any other factor is what lowers Kahn's perceived performance- the talk about "cap space" and how we were going to use that cap space to "make a singular move" that never happened. If the man had simply shut his mouth, we would have been in the same place as a franchise but would have felt better about his performance. In fact, aside from the ghastly Jonny Flynn pick and the squandering of Big Al Jefferson's trade value, I've often mentioned that Kahn seems like a very average GM. He's performed adequately for the most part, sometimes better, sometimes worse. He suffers the constant retrospective naysayers who advocated Love for Anthony Randolph trades 2 years ago, yet now insist that had Kahn listened to them the Timberwolves would be a playoff team by now. Clearly.
Since all that talk has clearly not endeared him to the fans, it is possible that he has chosen to learn from his mistakes and is simply downplaying the upcoming Deadline of Doom. Surely that has to be the case, right? I mean...
There are several factors in play as we approach the 2012 trade deadline:
- We are dangerously close to competing for the final playoff spot in the West with one or two added pieces.
- We don't own our first round pick this year. If we are in the lottery, we are certain to win the 1st pick given that this is the best draft in years and the irony would destroy us. A corrupt perversion of Murphy's Law.
- The number of good players on bad teams seems to be higher this year. Also, there are some teams where the clock is clearly ticking and a contingency plan doesn't appear to have any form. Phoenix and San Antonio, I'm looking at you.
- The Timberwolves' needs are so focused (wing scoring, ballhandling, and defense) that it isn't hard to imagine several dozen players who would help out to different degrees.
- The Timberwolves have an enormous number of athletic young power forwards and middling draft picks. Someone lacking front court depth and cheap young players has to find that appealing...
Clearly a move must be made. I mean, we have to make a move, right?
With that in mind, I've assembled for your consideration the following list of potential trade targets, grouped by talent and whether we realistically can expect Kahn to go after such a player.
1. Game Changers
(almost certain to score 15-20+ and change the team dynamic in a big way)
2. Potential Game Changers
(have a reasonable possibility of becoming a Game Changer; worst case = very good role player)
3. Young Contributors
(probably not going to blow your hair back, but will play solid D, make shots, have room to improve)
4. Solid Role Players
(you know what you're getting here, and in this case that's a good thing)
5. Savvy Veterans
(most wings decline dramatically between 30-33 years of age- still a chance for a good year or two left for these guys)
Metta World Peace
6. Upside Guys
("he looks good in 6 mpg off the bench for a winning team"... the shooting guard version of Anthony Randolph)
7. Reclamation Projects
(talented players in awful situations- may bring their baggage with them)
*It pains me to include Ellis on this list. Don't like his game or how he carries himself. He is the opposite of Rubio in terms of wanting to win above all else and caring about his personal image least. But he is talented so I'd take him.
**I originally included Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger, and James Harden on the list. Let's face it. Without giving up Rubio or Love, none of those guys are going anywhere, since they are anchors on solid teams. The same could be said for some of the other players on this list, only to lesser extents.
Now that we have named the targets, here are what I see as the most likely scenarios in descending order of likelihood:
1. Do nothing. Acquire nobody.
2. Pick up someone off list 6 or 7. Probably not Evans or Stuckey, too talented. Someone flawed who hasn't had time to show their flaws.
3. Overpay for someone on list 3, 4, or 5. Honestly this is the best we can hope for. Shooting for the SG version of Tolliver, or something to that effect. This would probably involve trading anyone on our team not named Love, Rubio, Beasley, Williams, and, inexplicably, Randolph. Courtney Lee for Tolliver and Pek is starting to look good...
4. (Unlikely) We go for broke and overpay for someone on lists 1 or 2. What we really need to do but won't have the balls to do. Throw every 2nd round pick, both our protected 1sts, Derrick Williams, and whatever else to get an actual legitimate SG or SF that can score consistently without disrupting the offense and can play alongside Love, Beasley, and Rubio for stretches. We have the assets. Will we pull the trigger? We will not.
Do you think this is realistic? Are we hoping for something that will never happen? Was Kahn blowing smoke? Does he have something up his sleave? Or is he really telling the fans that making the playoffs isn't that important?
Tell us what you think in the 2012 Wolves Trade Proposals Forum Thread!
Talk amongst yourselves.