In expected news today, the Minnesota Timberwolves have officially agreed to send Derrick Williams, the 2nd overall pick in the 2011 draft, to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Williams was never able to find a position or a role with the Wolves, and he will get a fresh start with the rebuilding Kings.
For the Wolves, this move represents moving on from one of the last failures of the David Kahn era (of which there were many), and acquiring a player that can help them in their playoff push this season. Mbah a Moute is capable of defending either forward spot, which is something the Wolves badly needed. They have plenty of scoring punch, and Mbah a Moute should help shore up their defense and take some pressure off of Corey Brewer.
Mbah a Moute is on the books for a reasonable $4.5 million for each of the next two seasons, so he will not impact any future moves the Wolves plan or the inevitable Ricky Rubio contract extension. The Timberwolves could end up looking bad if Williams improves, but the truth is that he was never going to develop in Minnesota. They are trying to win now and made a move that reflects that goal, and the Wolves should not be faulted for that now or in the future.
For the Kings, this a low risk, high reward move. Mbah a Moute is not the type of player to help a team rebuild, as he is much better served as a role player on a contender. Williams, on the other hand, has the potential to be a high scoring, versatile stretch four who fits well alongside DeMarcus Cousins in the Kings’ frontcourt. The Kings will have to figure out how they want to work their rotation given that they already have Jason Thompson and Patrick Patterson at power forward, so Williams could spend some time at the three as well.
Personally, I believe Williams is a better fit at power forward, where has the potential to be a Josh Smith type player. This could be a precursor to another trade, as the Kings appear to have a bit of a logjam at that spot. Williams is under contract through the end of next season, so the Kings will have plenty of opportunities to see whether or not Williams will live up to his potential in a new environment.
If he can, this trade will prove to be a steal for the Kings. They already have two very good young players in Cousins and Ben McLemore, and Williams could make them one of the best young teams in the NBA. Even if the trade doesn’t work, it cost the Kings nothing to make it. This is a great move from Sacramento, and it could prove to be one that gets them back to the playoffs in the near future.