With Kevin Love out with injury, the Wolves have had trouble replacing him. However, injuries to Pekovic, Shved, Budinger, and Roy have made this season incredibly difficult for the Wolves to gain any momentum.
It's become very clear that the Wolves need to start shopping around some players if they want to have any hopes of the postseason, and they have the assets to pull one off.
Here's four trades that this depleted team should try to pursue before the deadline.
Minnesota Gets: Josh Smith, Anthony Tolliver
Toronto Gets: Brandon Roy
Atlanta Gets: Andrea Bargnani, Derrick Williams, 1st Round Pick (Wolves)
This trade could work out well for all sides involved.
Minnesota picks up a high-level player in exchange for a couple assets they were looking to get rid of in the first place. While our first-round pick might become more valuable as the losses added up, that just makes the offer more enticing for the likely reluctant Hawks.
Toronto grabs the non-guaranteed contract of Brandon Roy for next season, causing them to take their unwanted $10 million contract of Andrea Bargnani off their hands for essentially free.
Atlanta picks up a good group of young players in exchange for Josh Smith who is likely to walk away from them without any return in the off-season.
It was reported that the Hawks were giving consideration to a package of Cole Aldrich, Carlos Delfino, Marcus Morris and picks from Houston. This seems like a much better package, as Williams and Bargnani at least have some All-Star caliber upside, and the Wolves' first rounder might prove to be a more valuable chip than that of the Rockets, likely playoff bound this season.
If the Wolves can lure Smith into a contract extension, it would be easy to see all three teams getting exactly what they want out of this deal. Atlanta gets some future return for their borderline All-Star; Toronto sheds the contract of a player they don't want; and Minnesota picks up a great player in a year filled with many injuries and role players having to step up.
Plus, Minnesota might be getting a huge steal, and they know it. So either team with reluctance could easily be bought with a backup point guard thrown in. Or something. Wolves have the assets to give up more in this deal if need be.
Sacramento Gets: Derrick Williams, Brandon Roy
Minnesota Gets: Marcus Thornton
Derrick Williams' recent play has put his value at the highest it's been since the Wolves had the No. 2 overall draft pick in the 2011 draft. Take advantage of that, and capitalize on a team looking for potential big playmakers, and willing to part with nearly anyone. Brandon Roy could possibly fill the void that Thornton leaves behind.
Marcus Thornton is a player who can be depended upon to produce at the position he plays. At his best, he could be an injury replacement during a weak year in the All-Star Game, but likely he'll be a solid starters for a team desperate for a two guard.
This trade might also work best for Minnesota if Sacramento were willing to give up Evans in a one-for-one deal with D-Will, possibly with some filler players or picks. But that seems unlikely at this point.
Minnesota Acquires: Rudy Gay
Memphis Acquires: Luke Walton, Brandon Roy, Derrick Williams
Cleveland Acquires: JJ Barea
Again, shedding cap room and losing some players to grab a borderline All-Star.
Unlike Josh Smith, however, Rudy is already paid in full. He's got an enormous $16.5 million contract over three years that Memphis has decided that they don't want to pay anymore. This trade enables them to do that.
Walton and Roy will come off of the books next summer. That leaves them with the currently high(ish) valued Derrick Williams, and around $11.2 million to replace Gay.
Cleveland gets rid of that expiring contract for a value player. I'm sure that they wouldn't mind that at all.
And Minnesota is desperate for some ballplayers. I'm sure they'd be willing to pay Gay.
Boston Gets: JJ Barea
Minnesota Gets: Courtney Lee
It's clear that the Boston Celtics want to make a trade. They're too tempted to shake things up due to the lack of stellar play from their future Hall-of-Fame players. So take one of their slower starting young players in exchange for a point guard the Wolves don't need.
I've been advocating for a JJ trade for a while. He's been an amazing player for a while, but when Rubio, Shved, and Ridnour are at full health, the Wolves have plenty of players to play the point. At 6' 0", JJ is hardly someone who should be spending time at shooting guard either.
Courtney Lee can play a bit of both.