Wolves-Suns rumored in draft trade, Alvin Gentry joins Clips


The Phoenix Suns might have been offered a draft package from the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are looking to move up from their No. 9 pick in order to draft Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported the Suns were one of three teams — the Magic and their second pick and the Bobcats at fourth being the others — offered Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams along with the No. 9 and No. 26 picks in exchange for their first-round selection.

Minnesota has long been interested in moving Williams, the second overall pick in 2011 who has merely shown flashes of his supposed potential. Such a deal makes little sense for the Suns unless they’re turned off by the choice at No. 5 and believe picking ninth wouldn’t be a significant dropoff in terms of the 2013 prospects’ longterm potentials. Additionally, the Suns are already stacked with less-than-efficient combo forwards.

It would, however, give Phoenix another opportunity to swing for the fences at 26, in addition to their 30th pick.

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Former Suns coach Alvin Gentry has reached an agreement to join Doc Rivers’ staff with the Los Angeles Clippers. Originally reported by Paul Coro, Gentry brings even more credibility to the Clippers and for its ego-filled roster.

Not only does Gentry bring past experience to the Clippers but the knowledge to handle an offense that — you’d think — will feature heavy doses of pick-and-roll action between Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Gentry did pretty well with Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire, after all.

Moreover, Gentry agreeing to return to the Clippers says something about the direction of the Suns’ Pacific Division foes. After coaching there from 2000-03, it’s safe to say Gentry is familiar with the organization from an operational standpoint. For him to return means that the franchise is on the uptick.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports Gentry was indeed among a shortlist of head coaching candidates early in the process to replace fired coach Vinny Del Negro. Gentry was also in the running for the Charlotte and Memphis openings, but ultimately turned down an assistant job with the Los Angeles Lakers to join Rivers’ staff.

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Phoenix extended the contracts to Aaron Nelson, the VP of athlete care and head athletic trainer, and head strength and conditioning coach and assistant athletic trainer Mike Elliott on Wednesday.

“We are delighted to enter into multi-year agreements with Aaron and Mike,” said Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby in a team release. “The Suns’ training and medical staff has been justly recognized not only among the very best in the NBA, but in all of professional sports. Their innovative approach to athlete care and performance recovery is world class.”

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The Suns also formally released their new logos. Check them out at Suns.com and let us know what you think.

  • Scott

    If the Suns still had Blanks, you know they’d do this deal in a heartbeat.

    However, it is worth noting that Williams posted a PER of 14.55, which is several points higher than the PER of former Minnesota players Beasley (10.91) and Johnson (10.34). For that matter, the Morris twins both have a PER less than 13.

    Williams is managing 12 pts and 5 rebounds in 25 min., and shoots 33% from 3.

    If the Suns are thinking of doing this deal, they need to have solid plans for disposing of the twins in addition to Beasley and Johnson.

  • David

    Also, don’t forget that Derrick Williams is an Arizona guy. Even if Williams == a Morris twin, he’ll probably be more popular.

  • Brandon

    This heavily favors the Timberwolves. #9 in a weak draft is like having #17 or #18. We don’t need to draft anymore role players. We don’t need Kendall Marshall and Morris Brother talent. The Suns already have an entire team of role players. We need top tier (or near top tier) talent here in Phoenix, and those picks end at about pick 5 or 6. The Timberwolves know that. I hope we do too.

  • Junior

    I don’t know what the Suns want. To be a mediocre that barely makes the playoffs and wins. or try to contend to win a title.

    Wouldn’t you want to try to get a franchise player and then next season try to get a top franchise player? Then you would contend in a couple years.

    Or just do these sloppy trades and just have this type of year to show for it?

  • Scott

    @Brandon & Junior -

    Many critics have said that they believe this draft has NO franchise or All-Star type players in it. Certainly if there are any, there’s no consensus as to whom they might be.

    Is there someone available at #5 that you think will be an All-Star or franchise player?

  • foreveris2long

    While I like D. Williams, no way am I doing a deal that nets us 9 and 26.

  • Scott
  • Scott

    Hmm! I didn’t know one of Oladipo’s siblings is studying medicine, and another is studying to be a lawyer.

    That speaks well of his family’s IQ, and points to his probable improvement as an NBA player.

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    Funny story, not sure if it was covered much here. Markieff openly questioned why Williams was supposedly a No. 2 pick in 2011 before the draft happened. That was after Arizona and Kansas met that season (and Williams got the Morris twins and Thomas Robinson in bad foul trouble).

  • DP

    There are no prospects that aren’t tremendously flawed in this draft. Why waste an opportunity on a guy that in all likelihood won’t be in the league (top 5 pick) in 3 years unless they’re 7 feet tall, when someone is offering you someone who, if only as a role guy, will play for more than a decade.

    There isn’t a franchise player in this draft. Take a proven commodity with a higher ceiling, suck again next year and get a better chance at a premier player in next year’s loaded draft.

  • foreveris2long

    I respect former pro and present announcer for NBA and college games, Greg Anthony.He was on a panel tonight on NBA TV with seth Greenberg and David Alridge where they did a mock draft. Collectively they thought McCollum was the best point guard in the draft and Len had a very nice upside. They also sung the praise of J. Franklin, Hardaway, Dieng and G. Rice, Jr.. They had me convinced that the Suns should take Len or McCollum at #5. They thought Dieng might be the best center in the draft. They thought J. Franklin reminded them of Leonard as his perceived weakness in shooting was the same for Leonard when he left San Diego State but yet he could contribute in a number of ways.

  • DBreezy

    I guess the Minny trade comes down to what you think of the players available at 5, especially Bennett since there’s a good chance they could have him there at a lower salary slot than the comparable Williams. If the Suns think most of the guys at 5 are overrated and the right guy slips to them at 9, perhaps they do pull the trigger.

    They clearly want and need a roster reboot and the chance to bring in up to 5 new players all on rookie contracts definitely is a jump start in that direction. I think it ultimately falls apart between the Suns not being in love with Williams as a 4 and/or the right player not slipping to 9.

  • DBreezy

    @Foreveris,

    I remember you and I talked a lot about Williams and tangentially Beasley back before that draft because of the various trade rumors. Funny that the Suns have not only ended up with Beasley, albeit not how I preferred it, but seem to be in position to get Williams as well. What are your thoughts on that comparison now?

    Obviously Beasley is still a knucklehead, but we knew that before with the only question at that time being whether Steve and Grant could help. To me the big thing with both remains that they are power forwards in small forward bodies. I do not believe in Beasley, but I still think he is the better overall athlete and that generally helps him play the 3 better than Williams even though both struggle there.

    Beasley had an awful season last year, a statistical outlier even for his disappointing career. Both Beasley and Williams had large drops in O ratings from PF to SF but Beasley still posted better O ratings at both positions than Williams in his worst year and Derrick’s best so far. To be fair Williams played very little SF and was the better defender albeit on a better defensive team overall. Williams did slightly better defensively at the 3 while Beasley was equally bad at both positions.

    It sure seems like the guys like Beasley, Williams, Bennett, etc would be better off simply understanding what they are and working hard within that vs trying to make themselves into something they’re not. There are a lot of undersized 4 types like Faried, Landry, Millsap, etc that don’t have the skill of the aforementioned guys but are more successful because they embrace what they are. If Bennett thrives I think it will be because he does try to be a Barkley or LJ vs a Lebron or Durant.

  • Scott

    For me, there have been two principal weaknesses with Williams. One: he lacks lateral quickness, and thus cannot defend the small forward spot. Two: once he gets the ball he tries to create a play for himself (like Beasley and Brown), and he doesn’t dish off to his teammates. His assist rate is 0.6 per game.

    Andre Roberson would not have this problem, as he’s got good lateral quickness, and while he’s not an assist machine, he has double the assist rate of Williams.

    Still, if the Suns have homes for all their veterans – Gortat, Scola, and Dudley – then Derrick Williams would likely start, as he’d have the 3rd highest PER on the team (behind Dragic and Frye).

  • http://valleyofthesuns.com hawki

    If I knew I could get CJ McCollum at #9
    Lucas Nogueira at #26 &
    Ricky Ledo at #30 , then yeah I’d do the deal.

  • Junior

    Scott,

    I been posting all year on espn, there are 3 players I want in this draft.

    Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore, and Noel.

    I am more then satisfied with Olad defense or McLemore’s offense.

    If we had trade up to get Noel. I would have enjoy that pick as well. Noel could be out for the whole season, get his knee healthy and in the gym building up 15-25 pounds of muscle. He would be our franchise Center. We tank the season and next year hope to get the #1-#3 draft pick. We could get our franchise SF in that draft.

    Either way, I want franchise players and if we trade out of this pick. Does that mean we are targeting Zeller? Len won’t be there at the #9.

  • foreveris2long

    Hawk, What scares me about the Minny trade is as you pointed out, McCollum isn’t there at #9. Although I have only seen clips of him play, Greg Anthony thinks not only is he the best point guard in this draft but he is one of the best points guards who will be drafted in a while. He also thinks he is great guy off the court as well. He loves his size at 6’3″.

    I think the only way I consider it is if Len/McLemore is not available at #5 spot. If they are both gone,I might take a chance as I am not in love with Oladipo’s game.

    DBreezy,
    Both Williams and Beasley have underperformed to date. I remember you would have given up a 1st round pick to get Beasley which I strongly opposed but I agreed he was worth signing last summer as a free agent. I still like Williams but something seems to be missing. I wish he had a full season playing next to Kevin Love instead of trying to replace him. In a way he reminds me of Wesley Johnson who according to Eddie Johnson shows signs of being a special 2 guard in this league despite Minny forcing him to play the 3 spot.

    I guess all I can honestly say since neither has fulfilled their potential, the Suns do not need either.However I would rather take a chance on Williams than Beasley for character reasons.
    Our other player comparison was your man D. Jordan and my boy R.Lopez. I think Robin getting his first year as a starter and playing healthy, has proven to be better although D.Jordan has been a highlight reel. New Orleans is getting a deal in paying Lopez $5m/yr while Clips are paying $10m/yr for Jordan. However both are young and I suspect both will vastly improve over the next two years as they both have coaches who will demand better performances.

    Someway somehow if the Suns miss out on Len I hope we could secure the rights to Dieng. However we cannot get everyone so that is a likely long shot. Securing #26 from Minny would not help us in that regard as he should be gone by then.

    It is funny Greg Anthony and friends last night were not very high on Noel or Oladipo with regards to their upside.

  • foreveris2long

    DBreezy, I didn’t know D.Williams is only 21 years old. He is far from being a finished product.

  • DBreezy

    @Foreveris,

    I preferred to get Beasley under much different circumstances than the Suns ultimately obtained him. My feeling was that despite all of the debate amongst fans about his game, that the Suns front office at that time had no intention of retaining R.Lo. I also knew that the front office for years had a poor track record on trading expiring assets and that they were likely to select a safe underwhelming pick in that draft. They also were unlikely to be considered a strong free agency destination until they got their house in order.

    So where was the talent infusion going to come from? It wasn’t coming from late lottery picks or free agency, so that left trades or completely bottoming out a few years later which they did. Beasley was in the last year of his deal at the time, so I was ok with taking an asset management was going to get rid of anyway in R.Lo for a one year rental of a very talented but troubled player in Beas. Working with Nash, Hill, and Gentry would have provided a good eval on if Beas could put it together while only being on the hook for one season of a rookie deal. I was willing to give them the Suns pick if they gave something like Flynn or their #20 that year. The Suns had foolishly moved Dragic plus a pick for a player they were unlikely to keep and needed young backcourt help.

    The Suns ultimately did select a less talented player than Beas with their pick, ended up with Telfair as a backup, and essentially doing a similar deal to what I proposed with R.Lo with Johnson instead of Beas.

    On DeAndre, my main argument was upside based. I thought they were both mobile, agile bigs who could help on the S/R like Kerr wanted and that both were good shot blockers with raw offense. Jordan was and is still clearly the better rebounder which was huge for a poor rebounding team like the Suns. I saw DeAndre’s worst case with the Suns being R.Lo best, and he had the upside of high lottery pick. If you recall I also said situation was going to be huge for him and the Clips thus far haven’t been the best. I think he would have been better off with Shaq, Amar’e and the Suns staff as he still has a lot of natural talent.

  • http://jeffgubernick@cox.net south philly

    I would make this trade in a heart beat. We need young players in quanity. Williams has a tremendous amount of potential and unlike Beasley who is a thug he is very coachable. We will get a good player at 9 and the addition of an extra pick gives us three. If we score on one of he three the draft would be a success. Now trade gortat and get a young center. We are now looking at a strating five of possibly, Williams,snell, adams, McCollum, and dragic. That would be fun to watch.

  • Scott

    Williams is 22. He had a birthday in May (5/25).

    Williams is thought to have a higher IQ and to be more coachable than Beasley, but as a player on the court he’s still a smaller choice for PF, being unable to defend properly at SF due to low lateral quickness.

    I don’t know if Williams can lose more weight (he tends to be 240+ lbs), and if that would improve his quickness, but that might be a possibility if he and his team were to commit to the idea of him playing at SF.

    As for Wes Johnson, Minnie was playing him at 2 when he’s more suited to be a 3. Preferably you’d have someone with good guard skills at the 2, and Johnson is by character and skill more of a forward.

    Here’s something different … if the Suns could trade the twins to Sac for Fredette and Patterson, should they do it?

  • Suns Critic

    @foreveris 2 long

    You respect Greg Anthony?!? The same guy who was dressed in street clothes that blindsided Kevin Johnson during a game?!? SMH..

  • Suns Critic

    Do the deal if Len, McLemore, and Oladipo are gone.

  • Suns Critic

    Oh wait they want one of SG.. nvm lol

  • Foreveris2long

    Suns Critic, man isn’t there a statute of limitations on things guys did as a player? Didn’t Doc Rivers go after KJ one game as well and he is one of the better coaches in the game? I am kidding you because I doubt I will ever like Robert Horry due to that cheap shot he put on Nash.

  • Foreveris2long

    It is time for a pre-draft lunch some place where there are multiple sports tvs.

  • Suns Critic

    Lol yeah the blind sided punch happened in the same game Doc went after KJ!

  • BCrayZ

    Glad to see Alvin land on his feet.