Since joining the Timberwolves, David Kahn has had a mixed history with player personnel decisions. Kahn's moves have been a lot like going to a hole in the wall deli in some out of state destination. You never know what you're going to get, and that diner you found in Cincinnati with the kickass Chili has no positive affect on the crappy tuna sandwich you just choked down in Tulsa. In other words, past performance seems to have little, if anything, to do with future results.
Let's take a look:
Foye and Mike Miller for #5 Draft Pick. Pick unexpectedly turns out to be Rubio. ...You sit down at a diner in the middle of rural Arkansas. You ran out of gas and are starving and only have $11.47 to your name. You order "The Special" not knowing what it is, because it costs $5.99- enough to tip and buy gas to get to civilization. "The Special" turns out to be the most delicious pit barbecue pork sandwich you've ever had, and comes with bottomless sweet tea. You have hit the jackpot at the most unexpected of times and the most unexpected of places, and you paid less than you should have.
Passing up Steph Curry and drafting Jonny Flynn right after Rubio. ...You look at the deserts, see a very tasty-looking apple pie, but you decide to get cute and order the creme brulee, knowing full well that this is an apple pie joint. Creme brulee is undercooked and you get food poisoning. You find out that it was undercooked in the first bite, but you finish the whole thing out of stubbornness and sheer hubris. The apple pie turns out to be award-winning and you missed a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have a really terrific combination in an out of the way spot. The apple pie is subsequently featured on "Diners Drive-ins and Dives."
Big Al Jefferson to Utah for heavily protected picks. ...You skipped breakfast and knew that you should not have done that. Now you are in the middle of North Dakota and are famished. You may drive your car into a bridge abutment if you don't get food. There is nowhere nearby that looks like it serves safe food. You stop at a gas station that smells like old cigarette butts and buy an egg salad sandwich that the clerk tells you was homemade that very day by none other than herself. She smells like rotten cabbage. The sandwich costs $8.49, and makes you vomit for two days.
2nd round draft picks for Mike Beasley. ...You are working out of town, don't know the area, and just need a sandwich to fill you up. You skipped breakfast and are starving once again. You find a cheap local place and expect that the turkey sub will be disappointing even though it is billed as the best sandwich in town. It tastes alright, but you can tell they're trying a little too hard and the sandwich just doesn't have enough substance to it. As a snack it would be fine. As your primary means of sustenance? It barely holds you over. Good thing it only cost $2.
Derrick Williams pick with #2 pick. ...That last turkey sub still haunting you, you stop in a place that pretty much only sells roast beef and turkey subs. They are all out of roast beef. You order the turkey because getting cute has only made you sick in the past. The turkey sub is actually pretty good and just the right amount. Not overwhelming, but not disappointing either, and the sub roll is actually really good, surprisingly.
Sooooooooo... Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I think it's fair to say that I don't expect a lot from Kahn, and I also don't necessarily blame him for being a bit gunshy at this point when it comes to big trades/major lunchtime decisions. Let's just say that the next trade we make will probably be of the utterly conventional "one bench player traded for another bench player."
A closer look at the standard formula for meaningless trades in the NBA tends to be that one team looking to improve marginally (to get over the hump) and one team in utter desperation looking to rebuild, or a really old team looking to blow it up and get a bunch of young talent and picks. A 3rd type of meaningless trade occurs as a necessary byproduct of blockbuster trades- the 3rd party that makes things work for a small upgrade or asset acquisition.
At this juncture, the T-Wolves really need a Shooting Guard. They also don't want to be on the wrong side of the first type of trade, that between 2 teams where one is dumping talent to start over. We are (hopefully) done re-re-re-rebuilding. Therefore, in a sane and logical world, our likely trading partners would be either teams that are really bad, or teams that are really old or have a player leaving in free agency.
Bad (or potentially bad) teams:
Teams possibly looking to blow it up:
That's right. I am giving up my dream of trading with Philadelphia for Iguodala, Evan Turner, or Jodie Meeks, or with Memphis for OJ Mayo. This is for one simple reason: everyone who is winning is not going to touch that joystick; they are on autopilot and just need to make sure that the turbulence doesn't knock them off course too bad. Obviously in a world where players can go down with injury, it's possible that one of these teams could find themselves in desperate times and open up some possibilities; for now, let's deal with the current situation.
Charlotte and Houston have already effectively blown things up and are in rebuilding mode, so I don't know what they have to offer. I can't honestly imagine Morey trading with Kahn for anyone besides Love, Rubio, Derrick Williams, and Luke Ridnour. Since Houston already has 3 point guards I don't expect anything to happen there either.
Toronto, Detroit, and Washington have nothing that should interest the Wolves. No offense to the SG Beasley, but Nick Young? The whole point of trading is to clear the bad shot takers from the roster. Likewise unless Toronto were willing to part with Demar Derozan (their only solid shot creator) the only perimeter player you can get is nearly $8 Million worth of Leandro Barbosa. In other words, nearly $1 Million for every shot he's made in the last 5 games, where he's shooting 27.6%. Yeeeuch. I think I taste that turkey sub coming up.
This leaves us with New Jersey, Milwaukee, and Golden State then. Milwaukee has Bogut, who has certainly been effective in the past, but I'm not sure that Milwaukee wants him in exchange for our bevvy of PFs. Milwaukee's only apparent strength is a number of young big men, rendering our likely trade assets as moot (unless John Hammond has a fetish for second round picks).
As you see, we're running out of ideas, and teams to trade with. This is where it actually gets interesting.
You see, both New Jersey and Golden State have expressed willingness to make a move for Dwight Howard, but neither team can seem to put together a package attractive enough to Otis Smith. Further, since the Rubio trade (which was unexpected, as noted above), Kahn has never made a big move to trade for a legitimate star- however, he has been active in playing the role of facilitator in other teams' trades for big names.
Putting two and two together, let's see if we can build a 3 team blockbuster that brings the Timberwolves a somewhat serviceable player in exchange for sending some assets to Orlando...
Orlando sends Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu to the Warriors and JJ Redick to the Timberwolves.
Minnesota sends three 2nd round picks, Anthony Randolph, Luke Ridnour, and Michael Beasley to the Magic.
Golden State sends Monta Ellis and Andris Biedrins to the Magic and Brandon Rush plus an unprotected 2012 first round pick to the Timberwolves.
NINE PLAYERS!!! MONTA AND DWIGHT SWAPPING TEAMS!!! KAHN IN THE MIDDLE OF IT ALL!!!
...Aaaaand we end up with Redick and Rush. Sounds right, doesn't it?
Orlando sends Dwight Howard to New Jersey, and Redick and Turkoglu to Minnesota.
New Jersey sends Mehmet Okur and Anthony Morrow to the Timberwolves, and Jordan Farmar, Damion James, Brook Lopez, and Kris Humphries to the Magic.
Timberwolves trade Beasley, and Martell Webster to Nets, and Wes Johnson and Randolph to the Magic.
Nets get Howard and Deron Williams, and rid themselves of every other shred of talent on their team. Timberwolves fans no longer talk about how close Martell is to being healthy, Wes is to being confident, Beasley is to being dominant, and Randolph to being focused. These problems belong to someone else now.
Timberwolves unload the frontcourt logjam and add legitimate talent and depth at the 2. Unfortunately, the price for NBA guards is $20 million worth of Turkish Delight (can we please make this trade just so we can cheer for Turkish Delight? And/or see Okur and Turkoglu war with the Eastern Block?). Hard to see Papa Glen signing off on this one.
In closing, I don't see us doing anything at the deadline, but if we do, this is the type of tomfoolery we ought to expect. The Beasley for Iguodala swap or Anthony Randolph for Mayo tradegasm just isn't happening. Let's set our sights on something more attainable, such as the right to overpay Turkoglu and Okur in order to actually play NBA caliber players at their real positions!
Talk amongst yourselves.
*Final note: I didn't run numbers on this since ESPN's Trade Machine hasn't been updated yet with the new CBA Rules, and also because I have a life. Please leave any salary discrepancies in the comments or in the forums.