Minnesota sends Mo Williams to Detroit for Anthony Tolliver, draft pick
The Timberwolves are willing to trade everyone on the roster short of Andrew Wiggins and probably Ricky Rubio. That said, it’s going to be hard to move many of their non-expiring contracts.
Basketball operations boss and head coach Flip Saunders no doubt would love to move swingman Chase Budinger, who has a player option for $5.5 million next season and is unhappy as part of a painfully young, rebuilding Wolves squad. Of course, Budinger is barely worth the money even if he were to revert to his pre-Minnesota form as a deadeye long-range shooter and decent wing defender, and to this point, knee injuries seem to have sapped much of his former value.
Thaddeus Young is in a similar spot, with a player option north of $9 million for next season. Nikola Pekovic only plays 60-65 games per season and is owed a ton of money over the next few years. Most of the rest of the team is on their rookie contracts and likely won’t be moved for various reasons.
Mo Williams, on the other hand, is on an expiring contract and could provide a scoring punch off the bench for a contender, similar to what he provided for the Portland Trail Blazers last season in their run to the second round of the playoffs.
The Clippers, Heat, Cavaliers, and Pistons are all said to be interested in Williams on various levels, but it will be tough for Saunders to glean much in return. The Clippers and Cavaliers have stuffed their benches full of over-the-hill veterans that the Wolves wouldn’t be interested in, and there aren’t that many expiring contracts. The Heat and Pistons have a handful of young players that the Wolves could be interested in if the deal is expanded. If Williams is the only player that the other team wants, however, this deal would work for Minnesota.
Tolliver is under contract for next season at $3 million, but only $400k of it is guaranteed. The Wolves don’t necessarily need another tweener (Young, Anthony Bennett, and Robbie Hummel all qualify), but they could use veteran leadership and outside shooting. Of all the contracts that would match Williams’ in a deal, Tolliver’s would be the most attractive for Minnesota.
The draft pick could be in either 2015 or 2016, as Stan Van Gundy has a full compliment of picks to move in the near future. If the Pistons had any interest in Budinger (they would if his contract wasn’t so steep for next season — great job, Flip), the Wolves could ask for rookie point guard Spencer Dinwiddie in return, and possibly Joel Anthony to balance the contracts out, although they probably wouldn’t get a pick anymore in this iteration of the deal.
More likely than not, however, the Wolves are realistically just shooting to bring back a draft pick or two at the 2015 trade deadline. But anything could happen.
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