Earlier I mentioned the possibilities of the Timberwolves moving Michael Beasley for a few different pieces. And while there were offers readily available for the taking, the Wolves let the deadline pass without having made any moves.
It’s disappointing, I know. The rumors start swirling and you can’t help but get caught up in the storm. And then once they start getting tagged with “Breaking” or “Sources say,” you start getting anxious, awaiting the news. But then no news comes and the climax you were looking forward to seems awfully empty.
There’s no reason to fret over the Wolves not making a move. Beasley is a restricted free agent this summer with a hefty qualifying tag on him. The Wolves now get to finish the season with Beasley, let him find his place on the squad and help make a push for the playoffs, all while stating his claim for deserving to be signed long-term here in Minnesota. Beasley himself may not be as valuable to other teams than he is here but his contract is one that we can work with. If teams aren’t willing to sacrifice a late first-rounder or a disgruntled veteran to trade for him, then who’s going to shell out big bucks on a long term deal for him this summer? The Wolves may be able to keep Beasley through next year and beyond at a fair price to continue to come off the bench as a scoring punch. Or we let him walk, take the minor hit and move on. Either scenario plays out fine, really. There was no imminent need to move Beasley, so Kahn had no reason to move him at the deadline for nothing.
The Wolves staying pat means something else, though. Rick Adelman has expressed how much he likes this team as is right now. While Minnesota seems content, the rest of the West doesn’t. While the Wolves sat by idly, they watched as other Western Conference teams trying to push for the playoffs began to dismantle. Starting with Portland, they traded away their starting center in Marcus Camby and forward Gerald Wallace. They held onto the mutinied backcourt of Raymond Felton and Jamal Crawford but made plays to go younger by reeling in draft picks and expiring deals from the Nets and Rockets. The biggest news out of Portland is the firing of head coach Nate McMillan. As said, the mutinied backcourt of Felton and Crawford had tiffs with the head coach, and since they weren’t moved, the coach was instead. It’s an interesting move; either those two had to go or it was McMillan’s job on the line. With McMillan gone, though, Portland has all but forfeited this season to rebuild a brighter future through young talent and hopefully resigning Nic Batum.
Another team that self-imploded were the Denver Nuggets. Some may argue this one but they sent Neno Hilario packing to receive overly immature center from Washington Javale McGee. They also got Ronny Turiaf in the exchange. Why did Denver surrendered their big man? Well, reports have it that some in the organization had “buyer’s remorse” after giving Nene such a huge contract last year. Nene is in his first year of a five year deal worth $67 million. His health has been of some concern, but is his health troubling enough to sacrifice him for the troubled career of McGee? McGee is out-of-this-world talented but, just like Beasley, has character and attitude issues; he’s just never fully developed his character since being in the NBA. George Karl will have difficulty getting McGee to come into his own. If he can, great, the Nuggets maybe made a good deal (Remember: McGee wants near-max money on his next deal…) But if he can’t, Denver will struggle carrying McGee along for the ride, probably suffocating them out of a playoff spot.
And finally, the Houston Rockets didn’t necessarily implode like Portland but they failed to do what Daryl Morey has wanted for years: to land that All-Star big man. Morey loves to deal but hasn’t figured out a way to hit that blockbuster. Instead they made mini-deals (Got Camby and Derek Fisher) to try and fill holes. What holes, though? A center may be nice to incorporate into their front line, but another point guard? They have Kyle Lowry and a more-than-serviceable backup in Goran Dragic. They gave up young talent in Jonny Flynn, Hasheem Thabeet and a second rounder for those players and a late first rounder from LA. So they didn’t give up much but you can’t help but wonder where those pieces now fit in going forward. Houston will still be in the playoff race, don’t get me wrong, but the fact that they failed again to land the big one has to upset the city and its fans.
Minnesota can now sit on their roster, play on with what they have and continue to push for the playoffs, while everyone else will inevitably suffer incorporating new players into their rotations with very little season left to go. The teams that are active at the deadline intrigue everyone but sometimes it’s the team that does nothing that will surprise in the end. The Wolves are just starting to gel, why break up the chemistry?