Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What is an Acceptable Deal from Minnesota?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 7:14 PM

ESPN.com's Andy Katz has a strong story up about the status of the Grizzlies' trade negotiations involving the #2 pick.

The core graph:

Memphis discussed sending the No. 2 to Minnesota for the No. 5 and No. 6, but the Timberwolves have been consistent that they don't want to give away two top 10 picks. The TWolves also rejected the offer for No. 6 and Love. The Timberwolves offered either No. 5 or 6 and Craig Smith for the No. 2, but Memphis rejected that trade, too. The source said there was never any discussion involving Minnesota's No. 18 pick.

Katz also reports that the Wolves are the only team the Grizzlies are in active trade discussions with for the #2 pick.

It doesn't surprise me that Minnesota is unwilling to pair the 5 and 6 or the 6 and Love to get to #2. I wouldn't do those deals either, though I wonder if larger deals based around those particulars were discussed. Wouldn't #2, Darrell Arthur, and the Lakers pick in 2010 for either of those package be more reasonable? Similarly, I think the Grizzlies would be wise to not do #5 and Craig Smith, a one-position bruiser who doesn't upgrade the team's current power forward rotation and likely wouldn't play a huge role for the team.

Assuming both of those Wolves combos are entirely off the board, what would be an acceptable deal for the Grizzlies? I think it would have to be either the #5 OR Kevin Love paired with the #18. Love and the #18 I would do, but then I'm probably a bigger Kevin Love fan than most. For the #5 and #18, I would probably want some slight sweetener. Perhaps an exchange of Brian Cardinal's expiring contract for Marko Jaric's two-year deal. Or a potentially useful extra player such as Ryan Gomes or even Corey Brewer.

Complicating matters is the draft board that Katz reports the Grizzlies are working from:

Thabeet is atop the Grizzlies draft board with Memphis' Tyreke Evans second, followed by Syracuse's Jonny Flynn and Davidson's Stephen Curry. The Grizzlies have given up trying to get Ricky Rubio and the source said they didn't want to deal with the buyout issues.

I believe that Thabeet and Evans are at the top of that board. The Jonny Flynn thing surprises me to the point that I don't quite believe it. I know the team likes him very much as a player, but Flynn is a one-position point guard who couldn't function in a three-guard rotation with Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo. Stephen Curry could and has been mentioned much, much more in conversations with team officials. I suspect that with Thabeet and Evans off the board, Curry would be the player the Grizzlies would turn to.

But, how much more do the Grizzlies like Thabeet and Evans than Curry? Trading down to five would risk losing the two top players on the team's board as Oklahoma City could easily take Thabeet at #3 and Sacramento could easily take Evans at #4. Certainly players such as James Harden (OKC), Flynn (Sac) or even Curry (either one) could jump up and make Thabeet or Evans available at #5. But if the Grizzlies were committed to coming out of the draft with either Thabeet or Evans, would they be willing to take Rubio (Minnesota's presumed target) at #2 without knowing if one of those players will still be there at #5?

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