All it took was the magical luck of Nick Gilbert to fluster David Kahn. Rumors indicate that the Minnesota GM is shopping the No. 2 pick, with the Indiana Pacers and Danny Granger headlining a possible deal. Considering the practical, on-the-court rotational concerns, a trade is not illogical. Assuming Kyrie Irving is taken first overall by the Cavs, the small forward spot that Derrick Williams would play is already occupied by Wesley Johnson and Martell Webster. Enes Kanter, on the other hand, might fit. While he may be an athletic replica of Kevin Love, he’s the true low post bruiser, offensively and defensively, that Love might never become. Operating out of the high post and slithering out to the three-point line through the pick and pop suits Love best.
Kanter does come with a few drawbacks. The defensive frontcourt of Love and Kanter would never stoop to the all-time worst Randolph/Curry duo that the Knicks once employed, but it wouldn’t wow the masses either. And in today’s league of stars, defensive incapability leads to a lottery pick. That leaves Kahn with Brandon Knight, Jonas Valanciunas and a host of other prospects who, according to most, are not worthy of the No. 2 overall selection. So a trade does seem both viable and intelligent. But here’s why it’s not.
The NBA is a copycat league. The Boston Celtics sparked a revolution in which teams manipulate free agency or trades to generate a quick fix. Meanwhile, the other half of the NBA hopes to follow the Oklahoma City Thunder, which allowed young talent to develop cohesion. Although Kahn’s roster moves led to the league’s worst record last season at 17-65, the man is following the Thunder blueprint and planning for the future. The league’s youngest team (average age of 24.22) is also $15 million under the cap, with Michael Beasley‘s $6.2 million 2011-12 salary topping the list. Add the cap room to the abundance of youthful talent and you have a formula for success.
Yet Kahn wants to add a veteran player to the mix instead of another rookie. While I’d normally praise the acquisition of an NBA All-Star, this is not the time to do it. Minnesota’s roster may have potential, but it’s not ready to compete quite yet. Even if they add Granger, we’re looking at a fringe 8th seed, if that. By the time Kahn is able to propel this team over the hump, Granger will be over 30 years old and towards the latter end of his prime. Not to mention the three years and $39 million left on his contract. The time for acquiring stars is when teams are on the cusp of championship contention.
If a trade is made now, the Timberwolves will have to sacrifice not only young players, but future trade assets as well. When the Timberwolves return to the contention conversation, they will be stuck without the necessary pieces to complete that final move. Instead, they should just sit tight. Pick someone at No. 2. When your team is that bad, positional concerns must not be a primary priority. Talent should ultimately win out. So keep adding young players and developing chemistry. The right moves will surface and the wins will materialize.
What do you think the T-Wolves should do?
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