Trade Scenario Number 1 - Al Jefferson

As we moved towards the draft and free agency we will be tossing out a trade idea or two. Possible trades are always a hot topic.

First up? Acquiring Al Jefferson.

OK - I'm back from a bit of a hiatus.

Since the end of the season I needed a break from all things Raptors. It was probably the most disappointing season I have experienced as a fan - at least since the HQ was launched. I really disliked the 2009-2010 Toronto Raptors roster (the only upside is I wagered on the under in terms of wins) and given what looks like Chris Bosh's inevitable exit, I wasn't sure there was going to be much to cheer about in the years ahead.

Then came the draft lottery and my outlook has since changed.

Why?

Despite the Raps having stayed put in position number 13, the established draft order seems to have opened up a new world of possibilities. Things are a little more clear and suddenly players who you wouldn't originally consider may now be available. Bryan Colangelo just may be able to pull another rabbit from his (sometimes) magical hat.

Rather than harp on the failures of last season (boring!) I figured over the next little while I would throw out the occassional trade idea to the community and get people's thoughts. I urge you to post any trade idea's you may have in a FanPost. People love to discuss possible trade scenarios, no matter how unlikely so if this little series does anything, it will spur some lively debate. Just don't pitch a "We should trade Hedo for Kobe" idea.

Be forewarned however. I am imposing a few rules on myself. The trades need to be at least somewhat plausible and they have to make sense not only in the short terms but the long term as well.

This first idea stems from the  various mock draft's who have the Timberwolves taking DeMarcus Cousins with the fourth pick. The analysis @ CNNSI is as follows:

The presence of an enormously talented -- and simply enormous -- center will enable the Timberwolves to deal Al Jefferson. Cousins' size and athleticism will complement the perimeter shooting and passing of Kevin Love.

Dealing Al Jeff you say?

With no Chris Bosh around could you put a better center next to Andrea?

Despite a less than stellar 2009/2010 regular season where Jefferson never quite looked like himself coming back from knee surgery, Big Al still put up some solid numbers averaging 17.1 ppg and 9.3 rpg. There is a debate to be had as to whether he is as good as advertized or simply a good player putting up numbers on a bad team, but you can't debate the fact that the guy has a strong post game and is a very strong rebounder, which is a "must have" when playing alongside an Andrea Bargnani.

Now the desire of the Wolves to move a player of Jefferson's ilk will of course depend on how they value him and what they are receiving in return. There are questions about just how enamored the Wolves are with Jefferson - some of these questions stemming from the fact that he and Kevin Love don't complement each other or play well together. There were rumours last season about the Wolves offering Jefferson to the Pacers for Danny Granger and where there is smoke....

So let's assume he is available (we have to in order to discuss this anyway).

Perhaps the bigger question is what the Raps have to offer the Wolves given the salary rules. Well, try this on for size:

To Toronto:

Al Jefferson

To Minnesota:

Hedo Turkoglu
DeMar DeRozan

In return for Jefferson the Wolves bring in their new two guard of the future to pair in the back-court with Jonny Flynn and/or Ricky Rubio. They also get a more established SF in Hedo who brings with him some much needed experience. Playing time is opened up for their young big men and the Wolves suddenly have an enviable stable of young talent.

The Raps? They get some much needed front-court help. Oh right....they also get out of Hedo's contract. The loss of DeRozan is easily cushioned by the emergence of Sonny Weems and the Raps can look to grab a SF in the draft (Ebanks anyone?).

Just to make sure I hadn't written this article after hanging out with Wilson Chandler I reached out to SB Nation's Timberwolves blog (Canis Hoopus) to get their take.

The response was not all that positive.

I think Hedo would be a non-starter due to his age.  The Wolves are looking to upgrade this summer but with younger players that fit within the age range of their existing players.  A wing like Rudy Gay is going to be a lot more attractive than someone like Hedo.  They are going to look for a sign and trade for Al, but not for Hedo, even with DeMar in the package.

Unfortunately I think outright rejection of Hedo (or perhaps more accurately, his contract) is going to be the constant message received by Colangelo this summer. In fact, I don't know if the Canis Hoopus response would have been different had the return piece simply been Ryan Hollins. Of course constant rejection shouldn't stop Colangelo from trying to improve the team and it won't stop us from trying to find workable deals to discuss - even if moving Hedo is slowly becoming known as Mission Impossible. 

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