Big Al Jefferson Traded To Utah: Minnesota Looks To the Distant Future Again
It looks like the Minnesota Timberwolves have decided to go in a different direction...again.
After trading KG to Boston, former Vice President of Operations Kevin McHale wanted Al Jefferson to be one of the centerpieces to help this team get back to playoffs.
He had a solid 20 and 10 season and quckly became one of the best low post scores in the game. He looked like he could have been an excellent 2nd or 3rd option for a championship contending team. For some reason, they decided not to build around him.
At the 2008 draft, they decided to draft O.J. Mayo with their 3rd pick, even with the rumors flying around that McHale's guy was Kevin Love. I thought this was the moment when the Timberwolves were going to turn the franchise around. However, I expected them to mess it up like usual. McHale made the trade with Memphis to bring his guy to Minneapolis.
Timberwolves' fans were very disappointed, because they felt it was a mistake. I still remember the headline about that trade:
Add Love, hold the Mayo . I knew at that point that Jefferson and Love would never be able to coexist together on the court because of the lack of size. McHale's vision was to have those two together, but I guess that is why he got fired.
Minnesota continued to struggle from the lack of talent in the 2008-2009 season. Al was the only bright spot until he blew his knee out in the middle of the season. At the end of the summer, Minnesota fired McHale and entered the David Kahn Era.
His controversial draft picks of Rubio and Flynn meant a new offensive philosophy. Al was quickly rushed back from ACL surgery, and his numbers showed it (23-11 in '09, 17-9 in '10). Trade Rumors were back and forth about sending Jefferson in a deal to Indiana for Danny Granger throughout the year. His DUI Arrest, poor defensive play, and development of Kevin Love's game were all signs that he was going to be dealt before next season.
After Losing Carlos Boozer via free agency, Utah knew that they needed to find a big guy who is able to score and compliment Deron Williams. I think Al is better than Boozer. Jefferson adds more size than boozer, and has a better low post game. He will be better after having a full summer to rest and having the best point guard in the game creating opportunities for him to thrive.
As a Timberwolves fan, you can start to see what David Kahn is trying to do with this team. He is trying to create an up-tempo, triangle offense centering around a player who will not be playing until the 2011-2012 season, where there could be a lockout. Jefferson's was obviously not able to play in the new system.
I'm glad that we were able to move him, but I was looking for a little more value back right away. They received two first rounds, and Kosta Koufus.
Breathe in...Breathe out...
ARE YOU ******* (for the kids) SERIOUS DAVID KAHN????? the problem with this team is that we do not have a wing franchise player who can score in multiple ways and is able to close out games. There have been offers before the draft to move Al Jefferson, Flynn, and the 16th pick for Danny Granger and the 10th pick. Another rumor that sounded like a done deal was Jefferson for Zach Randolph and Memphis' three first round picks (12, 25, 28). This would have allowed the Timberwolves to completely dominate the draft with the 4, 12, 16, 23, 25, and 28 picks.
They would have had the flexibility to create package deals to possibly have three picks in the top ten, or go all in and go after Evan Turner and Wesley Johnson to establish the starting 2 and 3 for the next 10 years. There was also a trade recently about a three-way deal to bring David Lee to Minnesota while Al goes to Golden State. However, all these speculations never occured.
Instead, we continue as fans to look into the future with the addition of two first round picks in the 2011 NBA Draft. Who knows, maybe next year we will draft/acquire three SG's.
Maybe Kahn will go after Harrison Barnes if they don't land the no.1 pick. You also need to keep in mind that they have added two other big guys to their roster in Beasley and Pekovic. They needed to have these two guys get as much playing time as possible to see their potential.
The Michael Beasley trade was a steal, and will be interesting to see if this guy was truly a bust. I've heard that he has put a lot of work in this summer and has become a better human being as well. A change of scenery is possibly all this kid needed to become the all-star that we have expected him to be.
It currently looks like the Jazz got the better end of the deal. It is hard to make a big deal in your conference, let alone division. I would have asked the Jazz to re-sign Wesley Matthews and have him along with the two first round picks. It would have filled the need at shooting guard with a young talented guy who went undrafted who looks to have reached his ceiling.
All in all, the trade was necessary. The team should have made this trade earlier when the offers were more lucrative. SG was what this team was looking for, and this team failed to find one.
Readers please comment suggestions/thoughts on the article, as well as POSSIBLE trades that would have been better for the team.
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