Blog Entry

The Deals Continue

Posted on: September 13, 2009 10:57 pm
 
School Is In Sessions

Without a doubt, the dumbest headline I've come up with to date, but hey, we got him (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO-j-WQ0fG8&feature=related). Adding Ramon Sessions on a four year deal that will pay him 3.7 million this year and slightly increasing from there on is an incredible steal. He's only 23 years old and has played in fewer than 100 NBA games. In that time he has shown the ability to be a big time scorer and distributor. His single game career high in points is 44. His single game career high in assists is 24. Detract, criticize, nitpick all you want, but you can't put up those kinds of numbers and not have some pretty special abilities. If you aren't familiar with Sessions' game think Randy Foye except with actual point guard skills and vision, the ability to drive to his left, superior quickness and more appealing upside.

Getting this kind of talent for such little risk is surprising but what really stuns me about the whole thing is that Milwaukee was willing to let him go. Yeah I know, they didn't want to go over the luxury tax. But they would have had several months to get under the tax before they'd have to pay for it. Seems like they could have found a salary dump situation somewhere in that time frame. I honestly feel for Milwaukee fans, largely out of empathy. Moves like this give the appearance of a team in a full on, down to the studs rebuild. In the same breath, they've added guys like Hakim Warrick, Carlos Delfino and Kurt Thomas this offseason. They let Mo Williams go. But then they re-up Dan Gadzuric for 7+ mil a season. They trade for Richard Jefferson and then trade him away a year later. But then they appear unwilling to part with Michael Redd. I'm sure Buck insiders have more perspective but from my view they look like a total mess.



The End of the Songalia Era

Another week. Another Timberwolves trade. Another savy transaction by the Minnesota Timberwolves. It's still feels foreign to say that on a regular basis.

Darius Songalia is shipped along with Bobby Brown to New Orleans for Antonio Daniels. Yes, THE Antonio Daniels.   I've made it a habit every time the Wolves make a trade (feels like a dozen or so times this offseason) to read about it on the website of the local Minneapolis paper. Not so much for the reporting, but rather for the comments section below the article where readers can post their various thoughts. It's pretty hilarious sometimes.

A typical response to one of the many executed deals goes something like "We traded what for who?" or "I didn't even know that guy was on our team" or "What was the point of this?" or "Fire McHale!" (some people just can't let go). I've got to admit that to the casual fan these deals must seem quite pointless. Any time Etan Thomas or Quentin Richardson is the marquee name in a deal you know it's only for the hardest core of fans. The appearance of a flurry of marginal players being shuffled out then in and then out again is sort of bizarre when you don't fully consider the business related implications of the deal. But as we have come to trust from Kahn, there is always a business angle to his transactions. After all, bringing this organization out of financial hell was one of the many tasks he was charged with upon hiring.

Take this latest deal for example. It's hard to get too excited about adding Antonio Daniels or conversly, depressed about losing Darius Songalia or Bobby Brown. So why do this trade? First of all, Bobby Brown makes almost no money and from a talent standpoint is worthless to an NBA squad, but could probably carve out a serviceable niche in the NBDL if given the opportunity. So eliminate his perceived value from the equation. It comes down to Daniels for Songalia. Songalia makes 3 million dollars less than Daniels for this upcoming season, so in the short term it allows New Orleans to add a solid roleplayer and save a little cash. For the Wolves, taking on that extra money doesn't matter because they aren't competing this year anyways. Next year is when the Wolves "win" the trade. Daniels is a straight up expiring contract. They can either package him in a trade to some luxury taxed team at the deadline or simply let his contract expire at season's end. Songalia, on the other hand, has a player option built into his contract next year for 4.9 mil, which he will undoubtedly pick up regardless of where he is playing. The Wolves clear another 5 or so million for the vaunted 2010 NBA offseason. Like I said, yet another savy move for the Wolves while New Orleans, already hemorraghing money, sets itself up for one more run in 2009 and then a brutal firesale to follow.  

This also hints at another interesting suggestion: the Wolves seriously believe they are going to be big time players in next year's free agency extravaganza. Why else would they keeping clearing every dollar they could, even by means of taking on excessive contracts for this season? Under past regimes you could cite cheapness or ineptitude or even insanity. That's the old regime. This new one is different. By all accounts, this new regime knows what it's doing. A novel idea for sure.

Looking ahead to next offseason, there's a number of past their prime vets like Ray Allen, Tracy McGrady, Richard Hamilon and Steve Nash that would probably serve no purpose to the young and building T-Wolves. Then there's the megastars like LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudamire, Joe Johnson and Yao Ming. After that there's the second tier stars like Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge, Josh Howard, Rajon Rondo, Michael Redd and Al Harrington. After that there's a ton of quality role players that will be available, but the Wolves are pretty set on roleplayers. 

So who in that group can the Wolves seriously land? Is the whole desired location thing being overrated while straight cash, homey is being underrated? If the Wolves nip at some heels this year and give the appearance of a team on the rise will they be able to lure someone to Minnesota on that potential? I have my thoughts on the matter, but what do you think?




Comments

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: September 21, 2009 10:58 am
 

The Deals Continue

I think both of the aforementioned deals are extremely sound business deals and continue to put the Wolves in better and better position for the future.

In Ramon Sessions you have a young player with I feel great upside at an absolute discount price.  He's young and athletic, has a tremendous assist to turnover ratio and has shown the ability to get to the rim, something this team has lacked since Stephon Marbury.  It's true he doesn't have great range on his jumper, but his shooting percentage is higher than that of Randy Foye's - who we considered a good shooter.  Sessions is also a near 80% free throw shooter.  It's yet to be seen if he can play alongside Jonny Flynn for extended minutes, but I do think there are scenarios where this can happen.  First off, should the Wolves be playing an apponent electing to "go small", they can match it with Sessions and Flynn.  Also, if you have Brewer in the game at SF with good size at PF and C, I think you can get away with slightly smaller SGs.  Flynn should be playing no more than about 30-32 minutes a game this year as a rookie, so we already have 15-20 minutes a game built in for Session and Atkins to play.

As for the Songaila deal, that was bloody brilliant.  In making this deal, we've shed the last of our bad contracts and added flexibility for next year.  In this league, flexibility wins out - see the Sessions deal to emphasize this.  When you look back upon the Foye, Miller - Rubio trade, you have to consider in the players we will not have room for in shedding Songaila's contract.  I often think the small deals can be most important ones in building a team and the Wolves are heading the right direction.

At this point, I'd like to see the Wolves sit tight and assess what they have - unless, of course, something comes up that you can't pass up :).  In the meantime, I think every player not named Sessions or Flynn is auditioning for the 2010 Minnesota Timberwolves.  I would include Love and Jefferson in this conversation.  Any way you slice it, it will be an exciting year to be fan of the team.  They won't win 40 games, but I think Rambis will get them to compete.  The future is bright, we just need to have patience...



Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: September 15, 2009 8:17 am
 

The Deals Continue

portends.



Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: September 14, 2009 8:31 pm
 

The Deals Continue

I think Sessions portends Rubios not being in Minny - doesn't preclude it, but it certainly probably means they're truly not expecting anything anytime soon. Two years can be an eternity in sports, especially to a rebuilding franchise. Best now to pretend Rubio never existed. Or rather that they have this trade chip of Rubio's rights, but that there was never an idea of him a Wolf.

I don't see a downside to the Sessions. I'll take a session of Sessions. I'll drink a Session beer to Sessions.


Sessions.



Since: May 5, 2009
Posted on: September 14, 2009 1:28 pm
 

The Deals Continue

To be quite honest I don't know much about Sessions game.  I know he is explosive, which is a gift and can never be taught. I know that he is a passer, again a gift.  I also know his J is very suspect.   If you were to ask me of those three gifts which two would you choose if you had to, I would choose vision and explosion.  I feel you can develop a servicable jumper a lot easier than you can the other two.  Randy Foye had a servicable jumper and some explosion but terrible vision and he has role player written all over him.  I like the risk of landing something special, chirst you gotta gamble as a small market or else it is a slow road to medicocrity.

Does this signing pound some nails into the Rubio in MN coffin? I think it has to.  Does it hurt trade value then?  I would think it would a bit since it is apparent we are going in another direction.

To be honest of the list of reasonable choices for the 2010 off season the only one I would like is Johnson,  Howard or Gay.  In that order.  I think Johnson goes to a big market.  Howard is a very real possibility and would be a good sign.  Aside from some very dumb comments he has always played hard and well. ( I would also like to point out we chose doody over him.)

In my opinion Kahn doesn't have a grand plan I think he just continues to acquire value and dump bad salary assuming in time that will put the Wolves in a winning position. I can't disagree with that.  It goes to the fans (and a lot of the shrill MN media) complaining about having three potential star PG's on the roster.  How could that ever be spun as a bad thing?  At the time the players became available they were clearly the highest value at that moment.

Songaila move was shrewd. Did NO really think that Songaila was going to put the over the top.  If they are serious about a run then get serious, in my opinion they need to quit nibbling around the edges.  The wolves did that for 10 years and nearly ruined a hall of fame career.  I sincerely hope CP isn't befalling that fate.



Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: September 13, 2009 11:45 pm
 

The Deals Continue

The Sessions signing surprised me as well. Hes not a great player but hes got quite a bit of upside and should make Flynn earn his minutes as well as give us a taste of if a 2 PG backcourt can work (i believe with the right players it could, worked well for the Knicks with Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe) Not sure if Sessions and Flynn can make it work but it should at least be interesting to watch this year.

The Daniels trade was another great move by Kahn in my mind, we take on a little more cap this year but we get a 6.6 mill expiring deal and get rid of a crappy contract and a crappy player. We also got a second rounder out of it.

As for possible free agents next year, like you said, Allen, T-Mac, Rip and Nash don't make much sense there all to old. LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Dirk, Amare and Yao are all out there all to big to come here. Joe Johnson could be interesting and could be a nice fit, wed probably have to overpay a little bit but he could be a great fit here.

Rondo's out we don't need another point guard, I sure hope Harrington and Redd are out both are extremly over rated one way players that put up nice stats but don't help a team win. Don't see Aldridge leaving portland and even if he did we don't really need him.

Gay and Howard could be interesting. Howard is the better overall player in my mind but he needs to get his act together off the court and he seems pretty dumb (i mean what kind of idiot comes out in the middle of a playoff series and says he smokes the Ganja) but theres not a ton to get into trouble with up here in Sota so this might be an okay fit here.

Gay is a great scorer, his defense needs some work but in an up-tempo system he could be a great fit, hes a great athlete and since we want to run hed fit right in, ive also heard some trade rumors between Memphis and the T-Wolves so we might have some intrest in him.



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