Before you read this, I have to tell you I'm a huge Wolves fan. If you find yourself wondering if I'm delusional, it's the bias talking. They haven't made the playoffs since '04, give me a break.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have essentially been openly shopping their number two overall pick since the night of the lottery. Kyrie Irving was the prize, and they lost out. There are many teams rumored to be interested in the pick, but not every team has what the Wolves are looking for.
It has been reported that the Wolves are looking for veteran players, however, players who have been around the league that are worth having usually come at a price. It's hard to find a veteran who doesn't come with a little baggage.
I believe in the end, the Wolves will take the offer that improves their long-term outlook the most, and that could mean not taking on a more experienced players contract.
One suitor that hasn't been overly hyped is the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats have the assets to pull off a deal that the Wolves could be very interested in. They may not be overflowing with young talent but I believe they have the right pieces to pull off a trade for the second pick. They haven't necessarily said publicly they are interested, but if the Wolves make the right offer the Bobcats won't turn it down.
In any trade for the No. 2 pick, both of the Bobcats' first-round picks have to be in play. In fact, they may need an additional first-rounder as well.
For example, a trade that could work could involve the Wolves giving the Bobcats the No. 2 pick, Nikola Pekovic, Martell Webster and Jonny Flynn and receiving the Bobcats' No. 9 pick, No. 19 pick, the future Trail Blazers pick and Stephen Jackson. There could be other pieces involved to accommodate salary cap issues, but I could see a trade along those lines occurring.
The price for Derrick Williams has been set steep after the Wolves nearly obtained the No. 4 and No. 8 picks for him. They still might.
That combination may seem like too much, but in a draft that really only has two great players, it makes sense. If this year's pool was deeper it's a different story, but at the point where we're talking about Marcus Morris in the top-10, come on.
This trade makes sense for the Bobcats simply because they get a game changing small forward in Derrick Williams. They would have to make room for him anyways, so why not use Stephen Jackson to obtain him.
They do take on Pek and Webster, but their salaries pretty much match Jackson and at least Webster is usable. They have Kwame Brown logging serious minutes at center, so they might as well have Pekovic. He can't be that much worse than Brown.
The Bobcats also get Jonny Flynn, who was highly regarded out of Syracuse, but hasn't lived up to the hype as of yet. He could be a solid guy behind Augustine someday and he's worth a shot.
This trade would be a good one for the Wolves because they get multiple picks to work with and also the veteran they apparently are craving. Jackson does make a lot of money, but by trading Pekovic and Webster they can neutralize that aspect. Jackson has reportedly lost weight and could potentially solve the Wolves problem at shooting guard in the short term.
The Wolves would also get three first round picks in this deal, including two in this years draft. It's important to point out that the Wolves would now have the No's. nine, 19 and 20 in this year's draft. These picks could be used in any number of different ways.
I believe a logical way to use these picks would be to package them in a deal that could include the No. 19 and 20 pick and potentially receiving either the 10th or 11th selection from the Bucks or Warriors.
Stick with me here. I know this is far-fetched, but this deal would possibly bring the Wolves the last two selections of the top-10, allowing them to fill both of their biggest needs.
The Wolves really have two needs that they need to fill this offseason. They need a long-term option at shooting guard because Wes Johnson is unreliable, and they need a long-term option at center.
Johnson could be a good rotation guy, but he doesn't have the scoring capabilities of a legitimate starter at shooting guard in the NBA. And as for center, well, Darko is Darko.
With these two picks, I see the Wolves taking shooting guard Klay Thompson, and F/C Bismack Biyombo. Both players will likely be available, and while neither will be an immediate star, they both have huge potential. The Wolves aren't gunning for a championship next year, so it's fine if these players take their time adjusting to the NBA.
These moves, while potentially a little crazy, solve all of the Wolves problems. They get veteran help, they make room for Rubio, they get long-term answers at both shooting guard and center, and they add a future first-rounder. They would probably have to move Wes Johnson at this point, but they'll figure that out when they get there.
For the Bobcats, they now have answers at the point, shooting guard, and small forward for the next decade. They also have Tyrus Thomas locked up for a while. They suddenly aren't looking too bad. In three or four years when their bad deals have all expired they may be in a position to really do some damage.
Wolves Projected Lineup
PG: Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio
SG: Stephen Jackson, Klay Thompson, Wes Johnson
SF: Michael Beasley, Wes Johnson
PF: Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph
C: Darko Milicic, Bismack Biyombo
PG: D.J. Augustine, Jonny Flynn
SG: Gerald Henderson, Martell Webster
SF: Derrick Williams, Boris Diaw
PF: Tyrus Thomas, Boris Diaw
C: Kwame Brown, Nikola Pekovic
How the Wolves find minutes for all those guys, I don't know, but what I do know is that they are way better off than they were last year especially with that future first-rounder.
As for the Bobcats, Derrick Williams significantly improves their team. Definitely a lot more than anyone they could get with their picks. If he ends up being a star, they will ultimately appreciate this trade.
We'll see what comes of the Wolves No. 2 pick come draft day, but all things considered, I think a deal with the Bobcats could be the way to go.