The Minnesota Timberwolves should be fairly active this offseason, as new president of basketball operations Flip Saunders looks to to re-shape the roster and help end a playoff drought that dates back to when he was coaching the team. With two first-round picks in Thursday night’s draft, and busy summer could get off to a fast start this week.
The New York Daily News reported on Monday that the Timberwolves are discussing a trade with the Brooklyn Nets to acquire guard MarShon Brooks. It’s unclear how serious the talks are at this point, but further speculation suggests the Nets have made an offer. Brooklyn may be seeking a suitable backup for point guard Deron Williams, with C.J. Watson expected to opt out of his contract at the end of the month, and Minnesota has two veterans that may fit that bill in Luke Ridnour and J.J. Barea. A simple one-for-one deal involving Brooks and either Ridnour or Barea would not match closely enough salary-wise, so other players (or perhaps cash) would have to be included to make a trade work.
Leaving the possibility of a multi-player trade aside, is Brooks a good fit for the Timberwolves?
Brooks was drafted 25th overall by the Boston Celtics in 2011, but was traded to the Nets on draft night. He had a solid rookie season, averaging 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game while starting 47 games in a lockout-shortened campaign. But Brooks saw his role greatly reduced this past season, due in part to a few nagging injuries, and wound up averaging just 5.4 points per game. Over his first two seasons, Brooks has averaged 8.5 points per game in 129 games (49 starts) while making just over 30 percent of his three-pointers.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN-Twin Cities reported Tuesday morning the Nets are calling multiple teams in an attempt to trade Brooks, and a deal with the Timberwolves is not thought to be close. It’s unclear if the Timberwolves have serious interest, but they may not have to give up much to get him at this point. Minnesota’s biggest need is shooting guard, which makes Brooks a fit as a potential primary option off the bench, but I don’t think he is enough of a difference maker to alter the overall plan Saunders has to balance the roster.
I think it’s a good idea for Saunders to consider trading Barea over Ridnour, but Ridnour is entering the final year of his contract and Barea is due to make more than $9 million over the next two seasons. That should make Ridnour more appealing to other teams, but the Nets don’t have a lot of leverage if they are serious about moving Brooks. In any case, Saunders can quickly move on to other options at shooting guard if a suitable deal can’t be reached with Brooklyn.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.