With the dawn of March 1, the NBA is exactly two weeks away from its trade deadline. Rumors have been circulating around the league since the season's inception in December. The Minnesota Timberwolves have been extremely active in trade discussions this season.
The Timberwolves, with their talented young core, appear to have a very bright future in store. However, this 2012 season's fate could be decided upon how GM David Kahn handles this upcoming trade deadline. Should the Wolves keep Michael Beasley's bench scoring for a potential playoff push? Or trade him away to improve the roster and allow rookie Derrick Williams to have more playing time?
The New Jersey Nets, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors have all been rumored as to having interest in swapping players with the Timberwolves. Michael Beasley is the most sought after Wolves player on the trade block, but he's not the only Wolves player to be involved in trade rumors.
Let's start with the trade rumors involving the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers and Timberwolves have been in trade discussions since last June. The Lakers coveted the Wolves' second overall draft pick (Derrick Williams), while the Wolves asked for Pau Gasol or Andrew Bynum. Instead, the Lakers offered Lamar Odom and the potential trade fell through.
With the Lakers limited bench having been on full display throughout the first half of the NBA season, their desire for bench scoring has involved trade rumors for Michael Beasley. With the reports that new Lakers owner Jim Buss is more concerned with the bottom line than winning NBA championships, the potential of adding Beasley to the Lakers appeared to be halted on Wednesday.
The Lakers rejected a trade that would give their 2012 first-round draft pick to the Wolves for Beasley's services. Due to the Lakers being $18 million over the luxury tax, adding Beasley's $6.2 million contract would cost Lakers owner Jim Buss $7.331 million out of his own pocket.
If a trade between the Lakers and Wolves is still desired, it appears that the Lakers would have to dump Ron Artest (I refuse to call him Metta World Peace) or Luke Walton.
The New Jersey Nets, however, offer the most intriguing of trade possibilities for the Wolves. It's no secret that Wolves head coach Rick Adelman needs help at shooting guard, and a trade with the Nets could alleviate the Wolves' shooting guard woes.
New Jersey shooting guard Anthony Morrow has seen his playing time dwindle the past few weeks, and has been rumored in different trades. A potential Beasley-for-Morrow trade could be in the works, but it would have to involve others. Possibly Luke Ridnour or JJ Barea for Jordan Farmar along with Beasley and Morrow.
Now on to the rumors involving the Boston Celtics. Celtics GM Danny Ainge has made it abundantly clear that any and every player on the Celtics roster is available for the right price. The latest rumor has Beasley going to the Celtics for center Jermaine O'Neal.
With the emergence of Nikola Pekovik, center isn't an immediate need for the Wolves. However, as I'm sure many will agree, Darko Milicic is not the ideal replacement coming off the bench.
The Lakers weren't the only team to engage in trade discussions with the Wolves prior to the 2011 NBA draft. The Golden State Warriors and Timberwolves had discussions involving Michael Beasley. The talks included sending Beasley and Nikola Pekovik to the Warriors for shooting guard Monta Ellis.
Trade discussions didn't develop, but with the Warriors shopping Monta Ellis as of late, maybe these talks could be revisited.
This season has provided excitement and optimism for Wolves fans. With an 18-18 record, Minnesota is one game out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
David Kahn needs to make the best decision for the Wolves in the coming weeks. Minnesota's 2012 playoff chances are dependent upon how Kahn handles this trade deadline.