This may not really be a preview, but after watching the last two Minnesota games, I have a couple of thoughts.
First, despite my attempt to downplay Alexey Shved in my convoluted proof of Dion Waiters’ dominance, the Russian rookie plays a fun game. Turning 24 next week, he flashes strong pick-and-roll play and deep shooting range. He gets to the free throw line frequently and makes them when there.
Also, he possibly added a piece to the Wolves’ long-term core, pushing Derrick Williams one-step closer to exiting the Twin Cities.
If I know anything about seven-footers who average 14 & 8, Nikola Pekovic appears on the verge of booking an eight-figure salary. Kevin Love makes $17 million in 2015 – 2016; Ricky Rubio presumably starts a first extension-year. Do they want to pay Williams $9 million that season? How about $5 million now, to back-up Kevin Love and Dante Cunningham? Over the last eight games, Williams saw the floor for sixty-four minutes.
So, what is his value, both to the Wolves and League? What do the Wolves crave most: salary relieve…wing talent…draft picks? What if the Cavs offered all three, like:
- Derrick Williams and Brandon Roy, for
- Alonzo Gee, Luke Walton, and 2013 Lakers 1st round pick
I think it works for both teams. For Cleveland:
- The #2 pick in 2011, Williams is 2 months younger than Tristan Thompson. He is another high-upside addition to the core.
- Williams can share power forward minutes with TT, but I am also one of ten people that wants to witness a legitimate run at small forward. According to 82games.com, last year Williams posted a higher PER and held his opponent to a lower PER when playing SF than PF.
- Cleveland exchanges one expiring contract for a contract ending next season. I am wary of adding significant pieces through free agency; trades of manageable contracts and draft picks appear to be Cleveland’s best bet to add quality pieces.
- They lower their payroll obligations by $10 million over the next few years. They can use that on someone not backing up Kevin Love.
- Gee offers a reasonably priced rotation player at a position-of-need.
- A late first-round pick is thrown in for good measure. (This trade assumes two things; everyone expects the Lakers to put it together at some point, and Brandon Roy’s contract is viewed non-favorably.)
What do you think, Cleveland? My next target is Enes Kanter, to complete the set of 2011 draftees.