Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sunday (8/24) Roster

We are now only two days away (hopefully and thankfully) from the end of the Kevin Love trade saga.  Insider sources are leaking information and making their best guesses at exactly what the "previously agreed upon" deal with look like. For those of us who don't have any "inside sources", we are stuck waiting and wondering what the roster will look like come Sunday. 

The latest information out of the Twin Cities (@JerryZgoda and @DarrenWolfson) is that the trade will end up looking something like this:

OUT: Kevin Love, Luc Mbah a Moute, Alexey Shved
IN: Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Thad Young

OUT: Wiggins, Bennett and 1st round pick (from Miami)
IN: Kevin Love

OUT: Thad Young
IN: 1st round pick (from Cleveland via Miami), Shved and Mbah a Moute

Based on all the reading and analysis I've done, I believe that the math works on the above trade, and that it MUST be a 3 way trade in order to work.   At first glance, this trade makes sense for all parties:

For Cleveland, the benefit is obvious.  They get to create the next "Big 3" in an era where boasting 3 all-star players normally leads to championships.  They are certainly giving up a lot, but thanks to their nearly unimaginable lottery luck, they are giving up resources that they didn't deserve in the first place, and who are expendable on their rebuilt roster.

Philadelphia's involvement in the deal makes sense given that they are in complete rebuild mode.  Thad Young will make $9 Million next year before exercising his early termination option and entering free-agency.  Picking up a 1st round pick (likely in the 15-20 range) without sacrificing their future salary cap flexibility is a good deal, even if it looks like they are selling low on a quality player in Young. 

As for the Wolves, Flip gets (almost) everything he was looking for in this deal.  Wiggins, though far from a finished product, is a high-upside player on a rookie contract who gives the Wolves a potential "star" on the wing.  Picking up Young provides a decent replacement for Love at power forward next year, and gives Flip and Co. time to evaluate the progress of Anthony Bennett.  After next season, Young could opt out (clearing salary space), opt in (solid player and possible trade asset), or sign an extension with the team.  If Bennett develops in year two, Young becomes expendable, and either the cap space or trade asset would be valuable.  If Bennett doesn't show improvement, perhaps the Wolves look to extend Young after next year, or use the cap savings to sign a free-agent.  Dumping the expiring contracts of Shved and Mbah a Moute clears needed roster space and opens up playing time for younger players on the roster. 

Sunday Roster?
So, let's say that the rumored trade is accurate.  What does the Wolves roster look like on Sunday morning?

PF                                                  C                                             SF
1. Thad Young                               1. Nicola Pekovic                   1. Andrew Wiggins
2. Anthony Bennett                        2. Gorgui Dieng                      2. Chase Budinger
3. Robbie Hummel                         3. Ronny Turiaf                      3. Shabazz Muhammed

                                PG                                                     SG
                                1. Ricky Rubio                                  1. Kevin Martin
                                2. Mo Williams                                  2. Corey Brewer
                                3. JJ Barea                                         3. Zach Lavine

This not only looks like a relatively competitive team next year, but 6 of the 15 players will be in their first or second year in the league, so improvement can certainly be expected. 

The final piece of business is to trade JJ Barea to make room for Glen Robinson III.  While JJ can certainly provide some value in this league, he no longer makes sense on this roster, and I'd rather give the final spot to a promising youngster like GRIII. 

So there it is folks!  Nothing to do now but wait and see. Feel free to leave your comments or ideas.

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