Minnesota Timberwolves: Potential Derrick Williams Trade Proposals
With the return of Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love imminent, the role of former second pick Derrick Williams is up in the air.
Attempting to fill in for Love, Williams averaged 10.3 PPG and 5.7 RPG on just 35.6 percent shooting—incredibly inefficient, especially for a big man.
Losing significant minutes to Dante Cunningham, Williams hasn't played for two consecutive games now as he struggles to find his niche with the team.
I'm not sure if now is the right time to make a decision regarding the Williams' future, but if they do decide to part ways with him now, they could potentially swap him and fill some of their glaring needs, helping the T-Wolves compete for a playoff push.
With a core including Love, Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, and Nicola Pekovic, Minnesota has a legitimate chance to sneak into the playoffs, but there are definitely still holes on this team, and moving Williams could potentially aid some of these needs and propel this team even further.
Despite his lack of consistency, Williams has shown glimpses of promise, and the former Arizona standout certainly would have value if he were to hit the open market. Plenty of teams looking to obtain young talent would have to consider acquiring Williams, who despite his flaws is only 21 years old.
Regardless of whether Minnesota decides to trade Williams now, later, or not at all, here are some ideas that could help the Timberwolves make the playoffs and become a more competitive team.
Williams and 2nd Round Pick to the Charlotte Bobcats for Gerald Henderson
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Shooting guard is a key need for the Timberwolves right now. With Chase Budinger missing at least three months due to knee surgery and Brandon Roy's knees proving to be just as unreliable as they were back with the Portland Trail Blazers, it would be nice to have a healthy body who can shoot the ball effectively.
For Minnesota, that could be Gerald Henderson.
Henderson has only played in two games this season because of a nagging foot injury, so his stats this year don't mean much. However, if we base his potential value on last year's production, it is clear that Henderson is capable of filling the glaring void at shooting guard for the Timberwolves. Averaging 15.1 PPG on 45.9 percent shooting last year, Henderson could fit well in a lineup with Rubio, Love, Kirilenko, and Pekovic. Although he is not much of a three-point threat, Henderson could finally provide some consistency at the two guard for the T-Wolves. With a healthy and effective backcourt, they could be a playoff team.
On the final year of his rookie deal, Henderson did not sign an extension with the Charlotte Bobcats, and therefore will hit restricted free agency after this season. For the Bobcats, it might make sense to move him if they don't think they will be able to sign him long term.
The Timberwolves could acquire Henderson for now and decide later whether they should match an offer for him in free agency or to look elsewhere.
Charlotte already has Ben Gordon at the shooting guard position, and are in need of young talent. Williams could be the first big man off the bench for the Bobcats, who could potentially have a frontcourt featuring Williams, second overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, defensive specialist Bismack Biyombo, Jeffrey Taylor and Byron Mullens. Charlotte would then have several young options.
If the Bobcats can put together a young foundation of forwards, these players can complement point guard Kemba Walker, who is emerging as the leader of this surprising Bobcats team. Walker loves to drive, and if Charlotte has plenty of forwards he can dish it to underneath then the Bobcats could definitely improve, especially given their historically horrific season last year.
Williams and Protected 1st Round Pick to the Sacramento Kings for Tyreke Evans
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Another soon-to-be restricted free agent who knows how to score, Tyreke Evans could be a potential fit in Minnesota.
Clearly falling out of favor in Sacramento since his first season in which he was awarded the Rookie of the Year, Evans has struggled to find his role on the Kings, similar to the situation Williams finds himself in. After playing point guard, Evans has shifted to shooting guard and small forward, attempting to find the role that best suits his talents.
Averaging 14.5 PPG on 43.8 percent shooting for Sacramento this season, Tyreke has proven throughout his career that he is a capable scorer, regardless of what position he plays. With a point guard like Ricky Rubio and defenses so concerned about Kevin Love, Evans could thrive.
Similar to Henderson, Evans could fill the gaping hole at shooting guard. If he plays well throughout this season, they could either choose to match an offer for him in restricted free agency, or let him walk if he doesn't fit the system. They aren't locked in to a bunch of long-term money, but could be if it works out, so the move is pretty low-risk.
The Kings seem pretty prepared to lose Evans anyway in free agency, and have not seemed focused on locking him up long term. They could instead deal him before his contract expires and net a young forward in return.
Williams lost weight this offseason and believes he is capable of playing small forward, or he could instead compete with Thomas Robinson for minutes at the four.
A young frontcourt of Robinson, Williams, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins could develop into a solid rotation down the road.
Williams and Second Round Pick to the Orlando Magic for J.J. Redick
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After unloading Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic are looking to rebuild. They have some nice young pieces in Moe Harkless, Andrew Nicholson, Nikola Vucevic, and Aaron Afflalo, but are clearly looking for more young players to build around.
Adding Williams could be the next step.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis is having a solid start to the year, but I don't think he is the long-term solution in Orlando. Al Harrington has been injured, and I think the Magic still seek a young power forward that could develop behind these two. Williams could be that player.
With Afflalo holding down the shooting guard spot for now, Redick becomes expendable, and as the Magic look to rebuild, they could flip his expiring contract for young talent.
For the Timberwolves, they would be adding a proven scorer in J.J. Redick.
Averaging 14.3 PPG and 5.3 APG this season on 44.5 percent shooting from the field, Redick is off to a nice start to the season.
However, unlike Henderson and Evans, Redick can light it up from beyond the arc.
A career 42.8 percent three point shooter, Redick could help space the floor and prove to be a lethal weapon in Minnesota's arsenal. Rubio already likes to penetrate to the basket, draw the defender, and then kick it out to Love for a three-pointer, but adding an additional deep threat in Redick would allow the Timberwolves to space the floor even more, and would also help their ball movement as a whole, especially when Rubio is injured.
Unlike the other two, Redick is an unrestricted free agent after this season, so there is the risk of potentially losing him to other suitors. However, if the Timberwolves can land a sharpshooter like Redick, it may be worth the risk.
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For the first time in recent memory, the Timberwolves have a solid chance to be relevant in the basketball world by becoming an NBA playoff team. With a solid young core, Minnesota has a good chance of fulfilling that expectation, barring injury.
However, that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. The team could still use a reliable shooting guard. With Roy out indefinitely and Budinger in the aftermath of surgery, they cannot afford to get by with Malcolm Lee in a highly competitive western conference.
With Williams struggling to find his role despite his apparent talent and upside, a change of scenery may be necessary for both sides. If the Timberwolves can find the right deal, it may make the most sense to act now.