Pups Question #2 for John:
With the Timberwolves continuing to struggle and the trade deadline rapidly approaching, do you see the T-Wolves as being buyers or sellers? Former number one pick Derrick Williams has often been rumored in trade talks since he was drafted, could Minnesota finally decide to move him this time? Also, I will ask the same question back to you: If you were in charge of Minnesota’s front office, what deadline moves, or even non-moves, would you consider making?
My opinion on this one changes every few weeks and is relative to how the team looks during respective stretches. Given the team’s recent struggles and the length of time still to be missed for several players (Love, Budinger, Roy) I actually wouldn’t mind if they just stood pat and rode out this season as currently constructed. If they happen to stay competitive and close to that 8th seed that could make for some interesting ball in the spring. If they continue to falter, that may not be such a terrible thing either.
Derrick Williams will not be on the Wolves to start next season. Whether or not he is on the team by the end of February is another story. The team really needs him to produce given Love’s injury. However, he isn’t doing so when he gets his opportunity. Adelman has him on a short leash most nights and you can see why when you make it a point to watch what he’s doing on both ends of the court during a game.
Aside from Williams, the team will eventually need to part ways with JJ Barea or Luke Ridnour. That said, and again because of the injuries, it may not be feasible to do so until after this season. My preference here would be to part ways with JJ Barea. He looks fantastic about once a week and then will drive you mad for the next few games. His loose “style” doesn’t fit with Adelman’s system (or me).
I would love to see DWill + Barea moved for a formidable SG but that doesn’t seem feasible right now. Earlier in the season I went searching for deals on ESPN’s trade machine and came up with a number of options. Sadly, Williams’ play has very likely had a negative impact on whatever trade value was there and I can’t imagine many of these being an option for the team now. If we could find an unhappy, but decent SG in their rookie contract to take off someone’s hands, I would happily send DWill out for him at this point. Outside of this, I wouldn’t do much of anything if I were running the Wolves.
Lakers Question #2 for Alex:
Will the Lakers’ roster look the same as it currently does after the trading deadline? Who do you think, if anyone, is the most likely to get moved? Similarly, what would you do with the roster if you had the reins?
The Lakers’ roster should look similar to the current roster after the deadline. Sure, the rumors of Josh Smith have been floating around as of late, but I expect the Lakers to only make a minor move at the deadline, if at all. With the recent return of Steve Blake, reserve point guard Chris Duhon is probably the most likely to be moved.
Of the Lakers’ reserves, Duhon is the easiest to trade since his contract is only partially guaranteed for next season. The Lakers in return will most likely seek a backup SF or PF, after backup PF/C Jordan Hill was lost for the season this past month.
Also, just this past week, the Lakers were granted a disabled player exception worth about $1.8 million for Hill. The exception is another asset the Lakers can use to possibly sign a free agent or help facilitate a trade.
The Pau Gasol rumors, however, should continue to swirl as the deadline approaches, especially with the building feud between D’Antoni and Gasol regarding Gasol’s bench status. Despite this, there are really no viable trade options for the Spaniard, considering Gasol’s mammoth contract.
If I had the reigns, I would probably only make a minor move or two. Despite the recent emergence of Earl Clark, the Lakers could still use a little more frontcourt depth. I would probably trade Duhon, and/or little-used reserve SF Devin Ebanks, for a veteran big man, or even another three-point shooter to backup Metta World Peace (for example, Philadelphia’s Dorell Wright, who has received sporadic playing time this season).
As for the rest of the roster, I am quite content with the current makeup of this team. I would specifically not move Pau Gasol either, because his unique skill-set is vital to the Lakers’ success, and the Lakers would not receive equal value back in a trade of Gasol.