Minnesota Timberwolves Rumors: Could a Player Familiar to Coach Rick Adelman be a Trade Target?

By Brad Berreman
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves made a notable change to their front office last week by firing David Kahn and bringing back former coach Flip Saunders as president of basketball operations. The status of coach Rick Adelman is still unclear at this point, but there is strong indication he will be back for a third season as long as his wife is healthy.

Saunders has already stated a need to bring better balance to the Timberwolves’ roster, and the first move in that direction should be adding a shooting guard, be it via June’s draft, free agency or even a trade. Adelman should still carry some personnel influence if he returns, and Saunders should definitely attempt to find players the coach is familiar with and fit the team’s needs.

The Timberwolves had some interest in Courtney Lee last summer, but he ultimately signed a four-year deal with the Boston Celtics instead. In 78 regular season games this season (39 starts), he averaged 7.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while making over 37 percent of his three-pointers. But Lee fell out of the rotation in Boston’s first-round playoff loss to the New York Knicks, playing just four games and averaging 1.5 points and less than 10 minutes per contest. Celtics coach Doc Rivers clearly had little use for him, which is sure to fuel some trade speculation this summer.

Lee played one season (2010-2011) for Adelman with the Houston Rockets, and averaged 8.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while setting a career-high in games played (81) and making a career-best 40.8 percent of his three-pointers. For his career, in five NBA seasons (365 games) with four teams, Lee is averaging 9.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

Lee’s ability as a perimeter shooter is enough to put him on Minnesota’s radar as a possible trade acquisition, and he appears to be well-suited to the style Adelman wants to play. The financial aspect is vital to any talk of a trade with the Celtics involving Lee, since he has three years and close to $16.5 million left on his contract, but the Timberwolves have players that may appeal to Celtics general manager Danny Ainge if that team’s roster undergoes significant turnover this offseason.

Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.

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