The Minnesota Timberwolves have assembled a respectable squad with just 11 days until they open their season against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Before the lockout, the Timberwolves brought point guard Ricky Rubio over from Spain. They’ve also signed both of their draft picks. Number two overall selection Derrick Williams, and second round pick Malcom Lee are both signed and ready to contribute right away.
Those three rookies will be joined by free agent signee J.J. Barea. The Wolves and Barea agreed to a four year contract just days ago.
The main piece that is missing is a scoring shooting guard. One name that has been tossed around in trade rumors all offseason (all two weeks of it) is Houston Rockets’ shooting guard Kevin Martin.
Martin would be a great addition to this young Timberwolves team, but how would they go about bringing in a player of Martin’s caliber?
Why Kevin Martin makes sense in Minnesota, and isn’t just a pipe dream.
Well, first off, Martin is familiar with new Timberwolves’ head coach Rick Adelman. Adelman coached Martin in his first two seasons in the NBA (2004-05 and 05-06) . Then, upon a 2010 trade deadline deal, Martin was reunited with Adelman in Houston. There he played for Adelman for a season and a half.
Often times in the NBA star players can lead to the demise and eventual firing of a head coach. Adelman was let go of his coaching duties in Houston, but not because of animosity with Martin. Actually, the opposite could be said about the Martin-Adelman relationship.
In the aftermath of Adelman being fired in Houston, Jonathan Feigan of the Houston Chronicle wrote an article on April 19, 2011 in which a disgruntled Martin voiced his concerns over the departure of Adelman.
“I’m kind of speechless. “
“To be losing a coach of his caliber, and also losing a lot of good coaches, a lot of good people, it’s very hard.”
“I think we lost one of the greatest coaches of all time. We took a step backwards. It’s like losing a great player. You see what happens. But for now, we took a step backwards.”
Obviously Martin is quite fond of his now former head coach– and potentially future head coach– Rick Adelman. One can only assume that Adelman would be pleased to have Martin join him on his endeavor as Timberwolves’ head coach.
But what would it take to bring Martin to Minnesota?
Camden Pasch of Bleacher Report suggests that Wes Johnson or Michael Beasley along with Nikola Pekovic and a 1st round pick “should be enough to land Martin.”
Whereas Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune states in his blog from Tuesday that in reference to the Wolves setting up a scenario in which they bring in a shooting guard, “nor do I think they’re lining up a trade for Kevin Martin.”
While Zgoda’s logic certainly seems more astute and accurate than Pasch. I’m here to look at what deal could land Martin in a Timberwolves’ uniform before December 26th.
- Kevin Martin– 28. In 2010-11: 23.5 points per game, 34.6 points per 48 minutes, and a 21.46 (19th in the NBA) player efficiency rating (PER).
Houston Rockets get:
- Michael Beasely– 22. In 2010-11: 19.2 points per game, 28.5 points per 48 minutes, and a 15.54 PER (118th in NBA)
- Wes Johnson– 24. In 2010-11: 9.0 points per game, 16.4 points per 48 minutes, and a 10.20 PER (287th in NBA)
- Utah Jazz 2012 top 14 protected first round pick
- Conditional 2012 second round pick (from Oklahoma City Thunder via the Lazar Hayward trade)
I’ll get to why the Wolves would do it… But here is why Houston would do it.
They have already been shopping around Martin. They reached a deal to send him to New Orleans as part of the Chris Paul to the Lakers three team deal that was blocked by the NBA. Martin is on the block, and teams now know it.
Also, in Beasley and Johnson, the Rockets add two young players to go alongside 25-year old point guard Kyle Lowry.
Plus the first round pick is a nice asset to have.
While raw, Johnson struggled immensely offensively at the shooting guard position for the Timberwolves last season. With Martin, Barea, Wayne Ellington, and Malcom Lee all able to play the 2-guard; the subtraction of Johnson would hardly be missed.
While the potential first round pick would be nice, chances are the Jazz will be in the lottery in 2012. Even if they aren’t, and that pick is in play for the Wolves, they already have three rookies on the team this year. The Wolves aren’t in a position to worry about adding youth; it is already prevalent on the current roster.
To fans of the Timberwovles, Beasley and Johnson along with picks for Martin may seem like a steep price. In reference to player efficiency rating, would you rather have the 19th best player in the NBA or the 118th and the 287th?
You take the 19th player every time.
Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank. He covers all things Minnesota sports. You can follow him on Twitter @brettcloutier.