Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We love roundtables. Mayo/Love trade...

Yes, it is Tuesday, five days after the fireworks that was the NBA draft, but we needed to put down our thoughts on what went down. It was too good. Many people slipped into bed naked on Thursday night thinking OJ Mayo was the next face of the franchise only to wake up in the morning with a blockbuster deal that Kevin “I’ve ruined my playing career because I blow as a GM” McHale pulled off at midnight. I got a text message late night from my roommate (he lives downstairs, but he felt a text would be better than knocking on my door) saying: “We traded Mayo.” Marx, Fuzz and Dogg had to have a roundtable that stretched over the past couple days to analyze this beast. Here is what transpired...

Fuzz: I have mixed feelings about this. I even wrote about this in that roundtable last week about this very trade. I asked: Is a Love/Miller combo better than O.J. Mayo? Well, I got my wish. We will see, because it’s exactly what went down. The deal doesn't bother me too much, other than; I really wanted to see Mayo on this team playing with Big Al. That would have been intriguing. But, like Dogg said, would he have stayed in the long term? He expressed displeasure earlier this month about coming here but softened that when it got closer to the draft. Love seems like a guy you can keep around. Anyways, mixed feelings at this point from this guy. Mayo could be a superstar, but we got a good basketball player, a good shooter and got rid of one of the worst contracts ever to be given out to an NBA player (Jaric). McHale has no dumped Hudson, Mike James, Jaric, Blount, Davis and Walker's contracts. It's about damn time he fixes for his mistakes. The roster is getting cleaned up fellas.

Marx: I am not very happy about this. You win with star power in this league and O.J. Mayo is the only one in this deal who could become a star. Did we potentially get better with this trade---it would be hard to get any worse. This deal looks to me like a salary dump and a “McHale knows better” deal. In the salary dump we got rid of two guys (A. Walker and G. Buckner) who’s contracts were expiring after this season anyway. We got rid of Marko Jaric, but we picked up Brian Cardinal and his contract that is only one season shorter than Marko’s.

This deal also is saying that we did everything right the past three drafts and we still believe Randy Foye, Rashad McCants and Corey Brewer can get it done. None of those players is anything more than a rotation player. Hopefully McHale is right about this and Mayo never becomes an all-star, but I’m not thrilled with the deal.

Let me ask you-what would you be happy with from Kevin Love? Would you be happy if he’s averaging 12 ppg and 8 boards in 3 years? Is that better than a guy carrying a team and making the all-star team? Mike Miller is a nice, overpaid role player who can absolutely shoot.

Fuzz: I've heard both sides and I'm confused as ever. I don't know what to think about it. I almost don't want to like it because McHale is involved. I just want him gone. It would have been a lot better if say like Hoiberg was our GM and pulled it off. It would seem different for some reason. McHale bothers the hell out of me. Anyways, the Star Tribune blogger, Michael Rand wrote about it and had this to say:

Maybe it’s dangerous to trust gut feelings when they align with moves by a franchise that has been less than successful when doing things the hard way, rather than the obvious way. But we think the late night blockbuster trade of O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love and Mike Miller (and others, mostly for money reasons) will go down as the best in Wolves’ history and perhaps a fleecing for the ages (in the right direction) once all is said and done. We can’t explain exactly what we don’t like about Mayo. We just watch him and see more bust than boom — way more Rider than LeBron. And despite Love’s ridiculous chinstrap facial hair, we’ve been infatuated with his game for a while now. He’ll make Al Jefferson better. He’ll make Corey Brewer better. We would have been happy if the Wolves had taken Love at No. 3; instead, they parlayed the pick into Love, Miller and the shedding of two problematic contracts (Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker). Miller is a sharpshooter. Sure, Cardinal has a bad contract as well (two years and $13 million left), but he’s at least a bigger body who can be useful off the bench. Jason Collins is a 7-footer who has 407 career NBA starts. Mostly, though, it comes down to Love. We like Love over Mayo, straight up. Factor in the rest of the deal, and it was a slam dunk.

Now, the only quibble we have: the way it went down. It’s tough to sell the public on a player like Mayo and then pull him back in the dead of night. Is there a good reason this deal couldn’t have been arranged and ready to go the minute David Stern stepped to the podium? We don’t think so. As we watched the draft with some RandBall regulars (good time had by all), we started trying to convince ourselves that Mayo could be a good fit. Local fans who wanted Mayo were ecstatic, only to be disappointed later. The timing and handling was bad; the end result, though, will be the best thing to happen to this franchise in a long time. And we’re not just saying that because we kind of predicted it.

I thought this was interesting. I've been reading both sides of this thing. It's either hot or cold with a lot of people. I’m starting to warm up to it…

Dogg: Well you two know my feeling about the draft day trade, LOVE IT! I honestly pin a 95% chance on Mayo leaving here after his rookie contract if not earlier. We were making the playoffs when Marbury was here and even he was bitching every season about getting out of dodge. Mayo is just as high priced talent as Marbury and like Fuzz said, he showed discomfort getting drafted by MN even before we took him. Did you see his reaction by the way when we drafted him? He didn’t look the slightest bit impressed and I think Love is going to be a very good NBA player. If he continues to lose weight and hit the weights he could easily be a Carlos Boozer/Brad Miller mold, both very good NBA players. Getting rid of Jaric, Walker and Buckner is the biggest key. Jaric had 3 years $21M left on his contract. I don’t know what Brian Cardinal is getting paid but I can’t imagine it’s a worse contract that Jaric.

Marx, what is your issue with Foye? He had knee issues last year and I believe he has one full healthy season that he can be a legit 15 ppg 5 apg and 5 rpg. Almost an Andre Miller mold. It might be wishful thinking but he has major talent. I say we make the playoffs in two years if we can hold onto Mike Miller.

Marx: Andre Miller and Foye are totally different players. Miller is a true pg who looks to run the offense and pass (He can't shoot.) Foye is a gunner who would like nothing more than to squeeze off 20 shots a game. I don't have a problem with Foye; I just don't think he will ever be more than a rotation player, which is fine except we have a lot of those guys. Why are you guys so high on Mike Miller? He's a shooter, but he seems to be one of those guys who gets his number on bad teams. Has he ever been in the playoffs? Maybe once or twice in the first round with Memphis. He's a good player, but he is not going to get us over the top in the West. He seems like the kind of player you add when you are tweaking your squad to make a run, but not be one of the top players on a rebuilding team. I hope I'm wrong and maybe this trade will grow on me over time, but damn.

Fuzz: The key of the deal is still Kevin Love. He needs to prove he can play the NBA game. He's in between positions and he is for sure the key to this deal. He is a natural rebounder, regardless of his size, which I love. Big Al and Love should grab their fair share of boards. Mike Miller and Brewer are good rebounders also. We should be a good rebounding team next year. Mike Miller averaged 7 last year and that's not bad at all. What's our starting five? Foye, Miller, Brewer, Love and Al? Or do Gomes and Telfair (assuming we sign them) make the starting lineup?

I know Mayo looked pissed off being drafted by us, but how does he feel now? Memphis is probably worse off than us and this area has twice what Memphis has to offer. Maybe the cold factor got to him, but the Twin Cities is a lot better area for nightlife/entertainment than Memphis.

Dogg: Foye has been limited to jump shot because of his injuries. Did you see his game in college? Yes, he shot some 3’s but he was mostly a guy who took it to the tin and finished. I know we’ve gone through this discussion before and I think me and you just have totally different perspectives on Foye. Allan Ray was their gunner and Foye was the guy who did it all. Drive and kick, hit the open 3or take it all the way to the tin. I think he can be that all around PG you need. Mike Miller can bomb but also has a deceptive penetration game as well. He’s just not a stand-alone shooter like James Posey. James Posey showed how much damage he can do in big games and I think Mike Miller is a much better player than Posey.

Marx: Here's a question-Do we have anymore moves coming? I think Telfair, Gomes, Snyder, and Doleac are some type of FA, either restricted, unrestricted or they have an option. Do we bring those guys back? Do we try to sign somebody's else's FA, like Andris Biedrins, Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, Antwan Jamison, or obviously much lesser players?

Fuzz: I heard all the money would be more available after this season. This is still a rebuilding year and I don’t think they bring in anyone new. I heard Gomes is on the traveling caravan this summer, so they must think they can sign him.

This portion was done after the weekend.

Dogg: Back to the Mayo deal. Sludge from KFAN loved Mayo but he warmed up to the trade over the weekend and was saying this morning how much he liked the trade. If he liked it I think we can be safe to say that it was a good trade for the time being. Whether Mayo turns out to be absolute stud, who knows but for now I like it a lot.

Fuzz: I started loving it more and more the next day and I'm absolutely on board right now. If it wasn't McHale pulling the trade, I think more people would like it. Some random tidbit's about it:

1) I'm assuming, but I think Mayo would have pulled a Marbury and bailed. We invited him to workout for us in Minnesota and he denied it. Said he wasn't coming up here to workout. That’s not a good sign. We had to see him in Chicago with other teams. Yet, Miami asked him on a whim last week for a secret workout and he was there in a millisecond. F-him. He expressed he wanted to go to a larger market early in June but softened that stance later. He wanted no part of us.

2) Ryan Moe, our close and personal friend made a good point to me saying we need to start acting like Utah. Dogg mentioned something similar also. Start drafting high character guys and not worry about the thugs and piss-poor attitude players. This market has a lot to offer but I don't think people realize that from afar. The cold scares them. Start drafting high character, system players. I do think we need to change coaches in 1-2 years to take the next step for this to work.

3) A high school friend of mine, Jon, said Love is going to be the next Sean May or Sheldon Williams. He hates the trade. I heard others comparing him to Al Horford. Since I like the trade, I obviously believe he'll be more like Horford. May and Williams didn't have a jump shot, that's where I think he's going to be better than those guys. Plus, he's a ton better passer than May or Williams.

4) Mike Miller loves the trade. He's from South Dakota and I've heard he's ecstatic to be here. Anytime you have guys wanting to play for you (love and miller), I think that's a good thing. Mayo could be a stud, but he's not the next Lebron.

Marx: The Utah argument is a little misleading. They sniped Boozer away from Cleveland and they traded up to draft the correct player (Deron Williams), which is where this argument stems from- the draft and trades. They also signed Mehmet Okur away from Detroit when he became available because Detroit had to pay their other guys like Chauncey and Prince.
If you’re talking about having a Utah model, then why don't we go after young foreign talent that’s potentially available this summer, like Andres Biedrins and Juan Carlos Navarro? I still don't believe McHale has the smarts and scouting ability to pick off these guys.

I heard today that next’s years draft is not great but it does have a couple pg's that could be very interesting. If we draft one of those next year then we can finally have a blueprint in place that makes sense. Realistically, Love is probably going to be somewhere in-between May, Williams and Al Horford.

Dogg: May, Horford and Williams never shot outside of 5’ in college. Love has a much better all around game than any of those guys. I say he’s better than all those guys including Horford. Who cares where Utah got their players from? They got them now and Sloan has never put up with any character issue guy like a Mayo. That is why Utah is always in the mix of things. Sloan knows which players will work hard for him and if you have talent and work hard, you’ll win. Everybody in the NBA has talent but half of them don’t want to work very hard.

Should’ve definitely kept Chalmers this year. I think he might be one of those 2nd rounders that turns in a nice pro career.

Marx: What do you mean "who cares"? That all comes back to McHale's drafting and scouting of available talent. We could have had Okur for a very reasonable price. They locked in on Deron Williams, traded up, and drafted him. All of this argument leads back to the draft, trades, and acquisitions by McHale. The Chalmers deal is what makes people so mad at McHale. A good GM would be able to think a couple steps ahead. If we had make the Love trade first, we never would have made the Chalmers move as we now need a pg, or at least a backup pg, and another player who can shoot. Chalmers fills that need and he was a potential 1st round pick who we got late. Why did we have to trade him on the spot? Why couldn't we wait until the next day or later? Sorry to be so negative, but I'm still not thrilled with McHale's moves.

Dogg: I know it is McHale’s fault. All I’m saying is I don’t care if you don ALWAYS draft well or don’t ALWAYS sign free agents well but do it well once in a while. Also, I’m saying find these guys via draft, NBDL, internationally…I don’t care but build your team around character guys like Utah and Sloan have done for years is all Fuzz and I are saying. The Chalmers move pissed me off. Now we are going to sign Telfair for more money than he deserves and also rumoring that we are signing John Lucas. Seriously? Chalmers would mop either of those two.

Fuzz: The point I was making about Utah is that they have high character guys that want to play basketball. They have guys that want to be there and aren't thugs. They don't have guys like Marbury, Melo, Artest, etc... They don't have any prima donnas, except maybe Ak47. He's pretty calm if you ask me though. I don't care where they are getting these guys, they aren’t drafting guys that don't want to be there or don't want to work. Getting rid of Ricky Davis, Mark Blount, Marko Jaric & Antoine Walker is a very underrated thing. I like McCants, but on this point alone, I would have no problem dumping him. I think Mayo would have pouted here and we don't need that.

Dogg: Couldn’t agree more!!!


Anonymous said...

Alright since I got mentioned (yea!!!), I decided I better say something.

First of all, Marx, what is your problem with Mike Miller? Honestly I thought it was really funny because the whole time I was reading it I was thinking to myself "does he think MM is James Posey and nothing more?", and then Dogg mentioned Posey. Haha.

Anyways, Miller is MUCH better than Posey. He is a guy who is a better shooter and scorer, better rebounder, a rookie of the year, averaged over 16 the last two seasons (with Gasol and Gay), and 3 years ago won 6th man of the year. Posey hasn't ever averaged even 14 per.

You say you win in the NBA with star power, well I honestly think MM is becoming a star (at least an All-star) right now!

I guess time will tell, but we've already shown how terrible the Marbury/Allen swap was. Now KG wins a championship with Allen, ironic?? Anyways, this is one of the better swaps...wait, the only good swap the T-puppies have made on draft night. And quite frankly that just goes back to the "Jazz" philosophy and I don't mean to take anything away from OJ. I'm sure he will be a stud in the league.

I'm with Dogg, I think instead of being good in 4/5 years, we could be good in half that time.


Dogg said...

Great comments backed up with some solid numbers. Nice work Moe!