Yesterday, two big things happened in the NBA, both of which were trades.
The Dallas Mavericks pulled off an interesting deal that sent Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington, along with some second-round draft picks to the New York Knicks for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. That’s a pretty big deal, given that four starters, a reserve player and a prized youngster were all involved. The Knicks are looking to clear cap space for the future (And perhaps rebuild if/when Carmelo Anthony decides to ship off for a new team) and upgrade the roster (Calderon) to keep Melo in town, while the Mavericks are looking to improve dramatically to entice said Melo or others that Dallas is indeed in it to win it.
The next trade that happened was the Houston Rockets sending a stable starting center, Omer Asik, to the New Orleans Pelicans for a 2015 first-round pick. The same thing is going down here as it did in the Mavs/Knicks deal; one team is trying to clear cap space so they can get better immediately through free agency — the Rockets want to also clear Jeremy Lin’s cap space to make a run at signing Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony. While the Pelicans are looking to get better right now, by sliding one of the best defensive centers in the league right next to a guy who might be the league’s best player in three-to-five years, Anthony Davis. To see latest NBA odds, check out a list of betting sites at SportsBettingPal.com.
These deals should signify something deeper to the Wolves than it does the rest of the NBA. These are two teams in the West — three if you consider what the Rockets are trying to do but only if they pull it off — that are getting better through trades that will help them right away next season. Chandler and Asik are terrific interior defenders and will help both teams’ defenses because of that. Acquiring those two guys is a signal to the fanbase that “Hey, we’re ready to make the playoffs for you guys!” And what have the Wolves been sending to the fanbase? A whole lotta shit. In fact, with the Kevin Love bologna on their hands, they’re now faced with a huge dilemma ahead of them. Do they keep Love and make a drastic move to improve the roster now? Or do they trade Love and — yet again — look to rebuild the team from bottom up? Either way, it’s going to take a lot guts and moving pieces to do so. If you keep Love, you’re telling yourself and the fans that you can improve enough to get to a point where Love is satisfied with re-upping for one more year and even talking an extension in 2015-2016. If you don’t keep Love, then you have to not only ship him out of town for the right package but also have the necessary means to not screw things up with draft picks and salary cap.
I’ve been a fan of a minor rebuild since the day Love made it public that he doesn’t want to stay in Minnesota. Just maximize his value, get a good player or two and a few helpful draft picks. You may stay mediocre long enough to convince Ricky Rubio to stay, while you develop some of the younger talent you already have and will have for the future. At least in this scenario, you’re clear with yourself and the fans about the direction that the team is heading in. You’re not continuously wavering, “Oh, maybe we should keep Love win 45 games and then lose him to L.A.” You have a clear-cut direction and plan to stick to. With that mentality in mind, if you want to keep Love and push to be much better next year, then you’re going to sacrifice things to be on the “good side” of one of those trades we already saw happen.Why aren’t the Wolves making a play for a new starting small forward or shooting guard, no matter what it takes? You have to address your needs and go for it with whatever you have, even if it means giving up something in return that may affect the future.
I believe that the latest trades by the Mavericks and the Pelicans are a gunshot to the West that the Wolves have to pay attention to. Because, instead of being on the other end of a trade that nets them a better roster than they have now, they’re sitting on the sidelines, watching, waiting, and it doesn’t seem like they have much of a plan right now. Instead they’re going through the motions with no real direction, and I guarantee, they’re going to get lost somewhere they don’t want to be along the way. Why not take the chance to improve the roster? Shock the fanbase, shock the LEAGUE, just give the people what they want on the most exciting night in the NBA: Excitement.
Improvement doesn’t happen from being stagnant. Flip Saunders needs to make his move TONIGHT. But which route is he going to take? Where are YOU going, Timberwolves?