Cavs vs Wolves preview…kind of

December 7th, 2012 by Kevin Hetrick

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.

For Minnesota:

  • 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.