The injury woes that have plagued the Minnesota Timberwolves so far this season have been well documented, and the most recent news is grim. Forward Kevin Love is sidelined again by a broken bone in his right hand, and a recent report suggests he will be out three months if surgery is required to repair the injury. Love is slated to see a doctor in New York on Wednesday, after which more will be known about when (or if) he will return during the regular season.
Much of the focus recently has been on Minnesota’s need to add a small forward or a shooting guard with injuries depleting the depth at those spots, but with the uncertainty surrounding Love and center Nikola Pekovic dealing with a hip injury, adding a big man may quickly become a bigger priority. If they do choose to go that route, who are some players that could be available via trade?
The Timberwolves have had some reported interest in Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, but he has recently missed time with a knee injury and will now reportedly need surgery and be out for 6-8 weeks. So it makes no sense for the Timberwolves to maintain any interest in him, barring something unforeseen.
Some recent speculation has suggested that Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph may be available, but a more recent report said the team is not shopping him. The Timberwolves, or any other team, would have to blow the Grizzlies away with a trade offer and I don’t think he’d be a great fit anyway.
The Timberwolves are always mentioned in potential trade talks regarding Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, but he is dealing with a concussion right now and when he will return to action is unclear. Still, nothing can be ruled out here if Gasol gets back on the court and increases his production in the short-term, and a change of scenery would likely do him a lot of good.
Minnesota sports fans, and more recently tabloid readers, are certainly familiar with Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries. He is a Minnesota native and played his lone collegiate season at Minnesota, but he seems to have fallen out of the Nets’ rotation as he works his way back from an ankle injury that caused him to miss a couple of games recently. Humphries also dealt with an abdominal strain early in the season, and even when healthy his production and playing time has been down (7.0 points per game over just under 23 minutes per game). So the Nets may make him available as the trade deadline gets closer, though their return in a trade may be dismal since he is making $12 million this season and next. Humphries showed nice potential during the two seasons prior to this one, setting career highs by averaging 13.8 points and 11.0 rebounds per game last season, so all he may need is increased playing time to re-emerge as a significant contributor.
It’s unclear if the Timberwolves will make any noteworthy moves, but it is clear something has to be done to help stem the tide of injuries that continue to be an issue if there is any hope to remain in the Western Conference playoff race. There will likely be other available names that surface if Love winds up needing surgery, since at that point vice president of basketball operations David Kahn will have no choice but to get fairly aggressive on the trade market.