While there has been rampant speculation that Minnesota and Detroit have been in talks regarding a swap of draft picks, there is a new report from ESPN’s Chad Ford that indicates the teams have also discussed swapping high-profile players.
Ford says that the Timberwolves are determined to move volatile power forward Al Jefferson to open up playing time for Kevin Love and, assumingly, their eventual draft pick, who would probably be either Derrick Favors or DeMarcus Cousins. In the same report, Ford indicates the most recent rumor is a Jefferson for form Michigan State Spartan Zach Randolph swap. UPDATE: Ford now says that the Jefferson-Randolph trade is dead.
Cousins is on the top of Detroit’s draft wish list, but it is unclear if it can persuade the Wolves to trade down to the number seven pick in the draft. Earlier reports had indicated that their main target, small forward Wesley Johnson, is bound for New Jersey, which plans on using their boatload of free agent money to lure a big man.
If Johnson is gone, Minny might be more willing to trade down, but if they are set on staying put, Al Jefferson could be the ultimate consolation prize. He makes a boatload of dollars, but he has proven he can be a dominant scorer in the NBA, and the Pistons could buy low, as his stock has slid as he has recovered from knee surgery.
Jefferson has a lot of the same character and heart issues as Piston fan fave Cousins, but he doesn’t have the tools to be the defensive presence that Cousins does. He does, however, possess an even better offensive game.
Pistons GM Joe Dumars has always valued his players highly, maybe even overvalued, but I think he should pull the trigger on this one, if it truly was offered. Maybe even expand the deal slightly to include Jason Maxiell and Ramon Sessions and I think every Detroit fan would forgive Dumars for the post-Chauncey trade era.