With less than 8 hours left to go before the NBA landscape undergoes a massive renovation, it's time to take one last look at the Wolves chances of landing one of the big names up for bid. At least two years of hype will culminate this evening at 12:00AM. As we await that moment, so many questions remain unanswered. Will the Rogue Trader Kahn get his man, or will our off-season of disappointment continue? Does anyone want to come to Minnesota? Can we find a way to bring Roundhouse back to blogging? Who is that rotund character who pops up on the blog every now and then?
Anyway, it's time to break down each of the major free agent players and what the Wolves chances, if any, are of landing them. Let's start with the biggest fish in the sea...
Clearly, the absolute best scenario for the Wolves would be bringing LeBron James into the fold. Too bad it has about a 0.00000000000000000000000001 to the negative infinitieth power chance of happening. I will move on.
Ok, here's where David Kahn probably has a better chance of pulling off the signing than buying the winning powerball ticket. Do I think Bosh is coming to Minnesota? Absolutely not. However, if Chris Bosh is seeking a max contract, he likely won't be following LeBron to whatever city he ends up choosing. Other than the Knicks, there aren't any teams that can just flat-out absorb LeBron and Bosh both at the max. What Bosh will likely have to do to sign outright for a max contract is to opt for whatever city King James and DWade end up spurning. Also worth noting is the fact that if Bosh truly wants the biggest payday possible, he'll have to sign with Toronto and then be traded. This option could earn him up to $20M more over the lift of his deal. Here's also where things get a little tricker, because Toronto will obviously want to have some say in what they're brining back in return for Chris's massive contract. If that's truly the case, Minnesota could be a prime trading partner. We're one of the few teams with cap space who haven't absolutely gutted their entire roster.
Again, this all hinges in Bosh looking to lock up every dollar he can. If the weather or winning take precedent, the Wolves are done here.
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I don't see Joe Johnson having many suitors for a max deal, unless the Knicks get completely desperate and decide to kill any chance for future success just to say that somebody signed with them. Joe is already up there in years, and having a player making nearly $20M at the age of 35 isn't something that any GM would find too palatable. Again, here's where the Wolves ability to pull off a sign and trade could get them their free agent. Finances aside, there's no denying that Joe Johnson would be an excellent fit for this team and could provide them with 3-4 years of solid service. It's hard to argue that a lineup of Rubio, J. Johnson, W. Johnson, Love, and Darko wouldn't be able to do some damage. That's the type of team Wolves fans have been dreaming of for six years.
Now Stoudamire could be looking to really cash in. Amare's max contract number is the highest of all the young free agent's, starting at $18.7M. I can't fathom anyone spending that kind of money on somebody with a history of microfracture surgery. Still, if he's looking to grab the most money he can, the Wolves may be able to offer more than most teams, and certainly more than any team who's already tied up one of the bigger names. My question here is this: Are we really looking to replace Al with another big man who can't play D? I just don't see how the Wolves get the most bang for their buck here.
Again, we're upgrading Big Al, but at what financial cost? I don't think Minnesota is in Boozer's plans, and I can't imagine he's in the Wolves' either.
If the Knicks do land some of the big players, Lee is going to need to find a new home. I don't see Minnesota being a great fit for the kind of money he'll be asking for.
Paul Pierce/Dirk Nowitzki
I'll put these two in the same boat, because they are. Both want to cash in AND win. The Wolves only offer them the former.
Without question, Gay is the player most linked to the Wolves during this recent period of free-agency speculation. However, there are a few hangups to the scenario of Rudy ending up with the Wolves even without getting into draft night's small forwardpalooza. For starters, Gay is a restricted free agent. Memphis can match any offer thrown at him. The Grizz hold nearly all the leverage here. Gay could always just sign a one-year deal and become unrestricted next season, but by doing so, he'd lose out on the opportunity to sign a long-term deal under the current CBA rules. In other words, he stands to lose A LOT of money if he doesn't ink something this summer. So before we start envisioning Gay anywhere, you have to wonder if the Grizzlies even let him go? If they do, I have to think a sign and trade would be a part of the deal. Unless they felt his contract was just soooooo outrageous, they're almost forced to match if the Knicks, Nets, or some other team gets him to sign an offer sheet. Again, Minnesota is an ideal location for a sign and trade. They have cap space, they have assets, and they're desperate enough to overspend.
So when it's all said and done, will any of these players end up in a Wolves' uniform? My bet is "no". There's simply too many other suitors out there with tons to spend and more to offer. However, greed is a powerful thing, and all it takes is one player trying to cash out for as much as he possibly can, and suddenly Minnesota becomes a major player for his services. My guess is that if any of those players ends up a Wolf, it would be Gay, Stoudamire, and Johnson, in that order. All three would make the Wolves more exciting, but would come with a heavy pricetag. Sadly, perhaps the best thing this team can do in free agency is nothing at all...
Good bye Roundhouse.