So, the Wolves play the Lakers tonight. Unless you have NBA League Pass or are attending, you unfortunately will not be able to watch. Seriously. Is this the only Laker's game that is untelevised nationally all year, and the Wolves aren't even carrying it on Fox Sports? Seems a little off to me.
Anyhow, Don from With Malice and I exhanged some questions late last night. Check out his fellow Bloguin blog where he will likely have a Q&A with tours truly posted later today. Here goes:
MR: I'll let you defend yourself: why do you think so many NBA fans hate the Lakers and Kobe?
D: I'd put it down to jealousy. Success breeds it, and there's no denying the success of the franchise. That they'll at the very least compete at the upper levels is almost a given season-to-season... and Kobe? Well, there's no denying that in the past he's appeared pretty smug. That's gone now, but he still is - largely - paying the price.
MR: Why is Adam Morrison still on your roster?
D: Simple. A little bit of monetary relief.
MR: Why do you think the Wolves had such a terrible 2nd half of the season? Aren't young teams supposed to grow over the course of a season?
D: One would hope... but I think it's more that young teams "grow". Sometimes that growth is to experience a godawful season - such as Minnesota have this season.
MR: You are the new GM of the Wolves. You have our roster, Rubio, Pekovic's rights, the 3rd, 16 and 24 pick in the draft. Let's see what you'd do this summer.
D: Ok... the caveat in this is I'm operating with no real knowledge of the T-Wolves. I think I've watched 2 games this season, and this is on about 20 minutes research...
The reality is that regardless of space, you're not attracting a top-notch free agent. I doubt even David Lee (you don't need Lee anyway). Accept that, move on.
Let go of one of your two decent bigs (no, not Nathan Jawai)... if I were GM, I basically let go the one who would garner me the most value - I think that would be Jefferson, and I'd be happy with that. I think Love has greater long-term value. The only hiccup might be Jefferson's contract - but I think he's still pretty good value at 12 mil per (tho' who knows with the looming CBA!).
The only problem would be what do you get in return? I think that Minnesota need a quality swingman, and Andre Iguodala would be a perfect fit. Would Philadelphia be interested? Maybe not, but there should be enough interest in Jefferson that a third team mightn't be too hard to find. Anyway... something along the lines of Iggy (you might be able to send him BACK to Boston in a sign-and-trade for Ray Allen plus something...) would work well.
Fight like blazes to get Darko to stay - I think he still has value at the 5. Between he and Hollins you might be able to get most of a game done. Perhaps give Love some time there and go small.
Make up your mind who is going to be the PG of this team and run with that. Hold onto Rubio's rights if you've got to, but cut one of Sessions or Flynn. Either would give a bit of value in return, but let one go. At the moment you're just stifling both of them.
The caveat here is if Turner falls to you. He'd be a PERFECT fit, and if that happens, then I use Jefferson plus whatever PG interests whoever to get a good center.
2nd pick - take a punt on a guy - someone who's a risk with high upside... or get a spot up sharp-shooter.
MR: Give us your two cents on the NBA playoffs, matchups and who you've got this year.
D: Briefly: I think LA'll be fine. I actually think that Cleveland (from Rd 2 on) will have more difficulty up to the ECF than LA will. LA will get to the WCF, and match up against either Denver or Dallas. And it will go 7... but I think the homecourt will be telling. Despite the recent play (which hasn't bothered me overly), LA will get to the Finals. And most likely meet either Cleveland or Orlando. What happens from that point on is anyone's guess... but I still like LA to win the ring.