Minnesota Timberwolves reportedly will listen to offers for Al Jefferson
AP PhotoAl Jefferson is on the table, could the Pistons pry him from Minnesota?
When I first read Sunday that the Minnesota Timberwolves had reportedly called the Indiana Pacers to see if they'd be interested in Al Jefferson, my first reaction, like many Pistons fans I'm sure, was hmm . young big man who's an automatic double double? Yes please.
I also knew that before I could slap a post together, commenters would already be throwing together their best Rip Hamilton/Jason Maxiell led package to entice T Wolves GM David Kahn.
But not so fast my friends. Jefferson in a Pistons uniform is about as unlikely as insert lame columnist metaphor X here. Just know it's not bloody likely.
the Wolves asked to do a Jefferson for Danny Granger swap because they have doubts Big Al is a franchise player. Granger, however, is a young, possible franchise player. The Wolves also lack a dynamic perimeter scorer, which Granger certainly is.
What does this mean? The Wolves are likely not moving Al Jeff if it's not for a young star in the making in return.
The Pistons have no one on their roster who fits that criteria. To me, this is the biggest stumbling block.
This also wouldn't be a simple salary dump for the Wolves they currently have no bad contracts. Even Jefferson's, at $12 million a year, is pretty reasonable.
Now, I can see the reactions of fans who are already trying to order their Jefferson Pistons jerseys, so let's nip those in the bud:
The T Wolves already have another young big in Kevin Love, so they may not be looking for a big man in return.
This would seem to play in the Pistons' favor, since they obviously have no replacement big to offer. wholesale nfl jerseys from china But Minnesota, even if they were amenable to a package centered around Prince simply to get out of Jefferson's long term deal, would assuredly want some combo of draft picks and/or a young player(s).
The Pistons' best young prospects guys with potential still on rookie deals in order, are: Rodney Stuckey, Austin 101meds Daye, Jonas Jerebko. We'll throw Will Bynum on their in fourth, even though he's a bit older than a prospect, but still has potential and a cheap deal.
Cross Stuckey and Bynum off the list as guys the Wolves might be interested in their GM went a bit overboard on the point guards in his last draft.
Would a package of Prince (for salary relief next year), Daye and this year's first rounder (top three protected) be enough to entice Minnesota? Doubtful. That's about the best the Pistons could do, and honestly, it's not a terrible trade in some senses, but it's also one that a team with more young, cheap talent (Portland, Oklahoma City, Houston) could trump pretty easily.
But if the Pistons traded Hamilton or Prince to the T Wolves, Minnesota could send them to another team who wants a veteran, right?
Perhaps, I guess. But both are less valuable players than Al Jeff. Spinning Al Jeff for a less talented player, then trying to trade that player would probably net less in return that just trying to trade Jefferson straight up in the first place.
Trade rumors are fun and every name that becomes mentioned in rumors between now and February will undoubtedly be debated endlessly in the comments. But the T Wolves are under absolutely no pressure to deal Jefferson there's not the “he could walk away for nothing” fear many have with Chris Bosh in Toronto, for example. He's signed for four years at $12 million a season, which is a bargain for a 20/10 guy who's strictly a back to the basket scorer in today's NBA, even if he does play really suspect defense.
The T Wolves, as a team, are at least a couple years from contending and are in good salary position with big contracts for Mark Blount and Brian Cardinal expiring after this season. As a non contending team, they'd have no use for Hamilton or Prince, so the enticement to take on Hamilton's contract in particular would seem to be minimal.
Maybe the Pistons get lucky Bill Laimbeer's an assistant in Minnesota, maybe he has a soft spot for Rip Hamilton or something. It's just really doubtful Detroit would have anything Minnesota would want for a player who will be as coveted as anyone on the trade market, if he's really on it.