Ok folks David Kahn has started and has started early…
With the draft just two days away Kahn has setup the Wolves for a big Thursday by trading Mike Miller and Randy Foye to the Washington Wizards for the #5 pick a serviceable center in Etan Thomas, a serviceable power forward in Darius Songaila and a backup center in Oleksiy Pecherov.
Conflicting reports have the Wolves set to keep both picks and take 2 of the guys they want at #5 and #6 and others say they will use the #5 to move up and grab Ricky Rubio. Personally I think it was a good move to start the regime change although I had hoped we could nab #5 for Miller and something else without Foye in the deal. That being said with all the action Kahn is rumored to have had working the phones there is probably a reason he wanted to get this done before draft night and before someone else from the long list of teams rumored to want it (i.e. Knicks, Blazers, Celtics, Rockets, Nets) were able to make a better offer.
This now gives the Wolves the most options in the draft whether it be via trade or using the picks. Could they use the #5 to move up to #2 to get Rubio. Are the Celtics dumb enough and want the #5 enough that they would really move Rondo who they are rumored to be shopping? Could Rubio fall to the Wolves at #5. (This is unlikely but some analysts have mentioned its now more a possibility than anyone ever thought.) The good news Wolves fans is that the Wolves are in the preverbial driver seat come draft night with a number of options and ways to come out on top at the end of Thursday night.
One thing I don’t see happening, Kahn trading both the #5 and #6 picks for #2, i.e. Rubio. This is too much considering it’s basically Miller+Foye+#6 for Rubio. He’s good and I want him but that’s too much and I think Kahn knows that. He wanted two picks to reshape the backcourt and now he can.
As for Miller and Foye I think they just weren’t the best fit here. Miller struggled with injuries this past year and without a distributor to get him the open looks he’s so good at converting he saw previously in his career. He still has plenty of game left in my opinion and I think he will do well in Washington with Arenas and Butler getting him the ball. Foye as well I think is moving to a better situation. He never was the conerstone point guard the Wolves needed and after being taken out with a knew injury two years ago has failed to progress like the guy he was traded for in Brandon Roy. Personally I think he will do very well as Washington’s 6th man combo guard off the bench in the Leandro Barbosa/Jason Terry mold. He definitely has the ability to score in bunches and should be penciled in for 12-14 points off the bench in 25-30 mins. I wouldn’t be shocked if he played well enough that he was in talks for the 6th man of the year award. That being said I think it was right for the Wolves to move him as he only has 1 year left on his rookie contract and hasn’t lived up to what we needed him to be.
The other guys in the deal. I think Etan fills a need for the Wolves as a serviceable center assuming he is fully healthy again. He’s certainly not the long term answer for the Wolves at center and I still would like to see them get Gortat, however Etan is probably an upgrade from the Collins/Shelden Williams who played when Love and Jefferson weren’t tag teaming it. Songaila is also a decent piece in the deal and could mostly be described as a slightly bulkier version of Gomes who can step out and hit shots but also rebound and bang inside. I expect Craig Smith becomes a trade piece with the additon of Songaila
Grade for the Wolves: TBD at the end of Thursday night, could be an A+ if Rubio shockingly falls to #5 or they sell #5 to a higher bidder on draft day, could be a B+ if they can package #5+#18+change for #2 to get Rubio, cold be a B if they land Curry+Harden or Curry+Evans. Could be worse I suppose too but I really feel that if Kahn was as active as everyone says he was he has something good up his sleeve for Thursday night.
For more on the breakdown visit the great Wizards blog, The Truth About It for a breakdown from the Wizards side.
Update: Andy Katz confirms the Wolves will try and move to #2 but won’t do it with both #5 and #6. Something like #5+#18 or something like that.
Also check out the solid trade breakdown over at Canis Hoopus by Stop-n-Pop.