Updated: 02/20/2013 2:33 PM KSTP.com By: Ben Musel
As the trade deadline approaches, every fan and a few of their mothers have their own idea about how the Timberwolves should improve through a trade and what the team really needs. Many of these, “Who says no first” scenarios are awful ideas. Many of these trade scenarios are not even possible and don’t take the salary cap into account.
It is very, very hard for a team over the salary cap to take on extra money. Especially as the new collective bargaining agreement rules are implemented. Terms like “tax apron” and “repeater tax” are going to be thrown around ad hoc from now until Thursday’s deadline. Teams like Brooklyn, Miami, New York, Chicago, Orlando, and the Los Angeles Lakers are handcuffed by their salary situation. Golden State and Denver could both stand to drop a few dollars into another team’s lap as well.
The Wolves can take on some extra salary -- somewhere in the neighborhood of six million dollars -- before they have to pay a luxury tax bill, but that will likely ruin the team’s ability to re-sign both center Nikola Pekovic and forward Chase Budinger. Those two players will most likely combine to cost approximately 16 million dollars next season. Budinger may not get his contract from the Wolves and since he was selected in the second round the team does not own Bird rights and can’t simply match another team’s offer.
With that in mind one must step back and look at the trade chips, salaries for next season and potential moves before simply saying, “Let’s do a 4-team trade that lands us Kevin Durant, Lebron James and a 27-year-old Michael Jordan.” There are certain rules that must be followed, especially in a land with -10 degree wind chills and a playoff drought -- 8 years and counting -- that makes you shiver.
Forget trading for a big name player on an expiring contract or an early termination option that can be invoked during the offseason. Anyone available who is able to hit the free agency market most likely will. There aren’t enough games for a new player to play with both Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love to fall in love with the team.
The reality of the situation is that the team should either be trading for a young player with Bird rights, so that the team has the ability to match or simply trading one of their backup point guards for a pick and filler that hopefully expires. Do not expect a big trade and don’t expect the team to pull the trigger on a Derrick Williams trade until the offseason when the player they get in return will have at least one full season with the team.
As it is now, the team is better off going into the offseason with all of the trade chips they already possess and trying to wow their fans then. This CBA has made teams weary of trades and the Wolves are no longer in a position to take on a bad contract just to get a young player with potential or an extra pick or two.