The Minnesota Timberwolves are at a really weird place as the February 21 trade deadline looms.
On one hand, they’re in a good place. Despite the absence and inconsistent play of their two premier players, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, they are hovering at the .500 mark.
Ask any Wolves fan at the beginning of the season and they’d tell you that they wanted the club to be in position to pounce on a late seed in the Western Conference once Love and Rubio are firing on all cylinders. For all intents and purposes, they are in position to nab a No. 7 or 8 seed if we see the real Love and Rubio.
Therein lies the problem, though: Love and Rubio have not been themselves. Both have been injured for a majority of the season—Love because he was doing knuckle pushups and Rubio due to injury last year—and have not produced liked they are expected to on the court.
Love came back, ripped his team and has been in and out of the lineup with minor ailments.
Rubio came back, lit up Dallas and then had to take even more time off.
So this puts Minnesota in an odd spot at the deadline.
They can’t sit and do nothing because this team has the potential to generate the interest it did in the Kevin Garnett era. At the same time they don’t really have great assets to trade.
Minnesota probably doesn’t want to deal Love and Rubio, the foundation of their team, or the emerging Nikola Pekovic and Alexey Shved, two players that GM David Kahn would be wise to hold on to for the long term.
After that you get a hodgepodge of veteran contributors like Andrei Kirilenko, potential draft busts like Derrick Williams or guys that played well but got injured like Malcolm Lee.
My thought is that if the Wolves are going to make moves at the trade deadline, they should avoid giving up any semblance of a strong asset and try to get an underperforming player on the cheap.
Yes, this looks like bringing in Michael Beasley all over again (I do not suggest that), but they should look at younger players that they can get on the cheap, cut if they flop and are young enough where if they somehow shine in Minneapolis, the team can lock them up long-term.