THE PAU GASOL IDEA
Patrick J: With all rumors swirling around Pau Gasol, the only thing for a hard-up blogger to do is fire up the good ol’ trade machine.
PG – Rubio
SG – Barea
SF – Webster
PF – Love/Randolph/Tolliver
C – Gasol/Pekovic
6th man: Pekovic
The Wolves end up with a Pau, Ricky, K-Love core. Barea and Webster are arguably upgrades over Johnson and Ridnour as starters at the 2 & 3. Pek is a matchup nightmare against opposing teams’ second units. We still have one high-upside enigma with Anthony Randolph. (One’s enough, right?)
n elephant in the room common sense question is whether the Wolves would be competitive in a Pau Sweepstakes.
John Hollinger’s (Insider) column suggests the answer may be no:
“It’s not hard coming up with dance partners, that’s for sure. Send him to Houston for Luis Scola,Goran Dragic, Marcus Morris and Chase Budinger, and the Lakers suddenly fill four rotation spots with one deal while saving several million on luxury tax; deal him to Indiana for David West,George Hill and Dahntay Jones and you accomplish a similar feat. These aren’t the only possibilities; one can build similar trades with several other teams, ones that don’t bring back a talent on Gasol’s level but plug so many gaps that it may be worth it anyway.”
Can a Williams/Beasley/Ridnour/Johnson package compete with Scola/Dragic/Morris/Budinger or West/Hill/Jones? We know the Rockets really want Gasol, and that’d be a pretty strong offer. What do you think?
Andy G: Well, for starters, I like it. Anything that puts Kevin Love between playmakers like Rubio and Gasol is a winning idea for this team that lacks dynamic scoring punch. Pau’s Spanish connection with Ricky is obviously a nice factor too, but the primary upside to adding Gasol is that he’d fit wonderfully in an Adelman-led, ball-movement offense. He can pass and he can score. The only DOWNSIDE is that you’ve just taken on a huge salary ($19M for each of the next two seasons after this one) and dealt our only trade chip with probable value, in D-Thrill.
THE MONTA ELLIS IDEA
Andy G: So how about this one instead?
In this scenario, the Wolves end up trotting out a lineup like:
PG – Rubio
SG – Ellis
SF – Webster
PF – Love
C – Pekovic
Not too shabby.
They also clear some cap space for next off-season by ridding themselves of The Wesley Johnson Disaster. Monta isn’t perfect, but you can count on him for 22-25 points and 4-6 assists per night–that type of wing production is simply not available in many places. He’s only 26 (Pau will be 32 before Monta turns 27) and aside from this truncated first half of season, Ellis has steadily become both more accurate and more prolific from downtown each year. Thoughts?
Patrick J: Gasol plays team ball and wins championships. Ellis plays me ball & has only played on one competitive team. Then again, Pau wasn’t a winner until he arrived in LA so we’re not exactly looking at apples and apples. I like the idea of adding a SG, especially if Pek is the real McCoy (and it’s looking more and more like he is). But what I’d dig even more would be OJ Mayo at a lower cost, presumably retaining Williams as our key trade chip for a future deal.
Andy G: Ellis played on two Warriors teams that finished above-.500, and in each case he was one of their leading scorers. Does he have a propensity to shoot too much? Maybe. (Okay, yes.) But would that hurt the Wolves? Their glaring weakness is creating shots from the wing position, for chrissake. ALSO, can we at least partially attribute Monta’s stunted growth to Golden State Syndrome? Think about the “lessons” he’s learned from DON NELSON, KEITH SMART, and MARK “HAND DOWN MAN DOWN” JACKSON. Are you kidding me? I’ll take the liberty of suggesting Rick Adelman and staff might clean up the rough edges of Monta’s game. That would leave the Wolves with a pretty elite two guard.
For what it’s worth, I’d prefer a team with Pau Gasol and a restricted free agent like Mayo, Batum, or (most of all) Eric Gordon. But I’m not sure the dollars work out with $38 Million going to Pau over the next two years.
Patrick J: I see your point regarding Ellis, but I’m not sure if Adelman could wean him away from some of the habits he’s developed in the Bay.
That said, we’ve gotten to yes–I’d prefer Gasol + a restricted free agent too, and Gordon would be my favorite target (despite whatever it is that’s happening this year).
Given that Gordon, Mayo, and Batum are all potential candidates for this position, we’ll likely be taking a closer look at these guys in the not-too-distant future.