Leaving aside the injuries that took a season with high expectations and made it another in a string of losing seasons, the Minnesota Timberwolves have some clear areas to address when the season is over.
Luke Ridnour has been miscast as a shooting guard all season, with Brandon Roy again being bothered by knee problems, and the Timberwolves are currently last in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage (30.3 percent). Some of those struggles from beyond the arc can be blamed on injuries that have kept Kevin Love and Chase Budinger out of action for the majority of the season, but adding a legit offensive threat at shooting guard is Minnesota’s biggest need entering the offseason.
Eric Gordon has played just 37 games for the New Orleans Hornets this season, as knee, ankle and hand issues have hampered him. He has been effective when in the lineup, leading the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game, but trade rumors surrounded him around the trade deadline in February and a reported recent spat with coach Monty Williams has ramped up talk the Hornets will aggressively shop Gordon this offseason.
The Timberwolves should have some level of interest in any available wing player this summer, but Gordon is not without some serious concerns. Leaving aside the lockout-shortened 2011-2012 campaign, in which he only played nine games, he has only played more than 62 games in a season once in his other four NBA seasons and that came in his rookie season (2008-2009) with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Gordon is also due to make close to $45 million over the next three seasons after the Hornets matched the four-year, $58 million offer sheet he signed with the Phoenix Suns last summer. A reported clause that allowed Gordon to veto a trade goes away when the season is over, which may make it slightly easier for New Orleans to find a trade partner.
This season’s failed experiment with Roy is sure to make the Timberwolves hesitant to add a player like Gordon, who appears to have a chronic knee problem. Add in the big contract and having to send multiple players to the Hornets to match the salary, and making a trade for Gordon is a risk another team should take.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.