TUESDAY, 11:08am: The deal has become official, according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (via Twitter).
MONDAY, 6:49pm: The Kings are set to acquire Derrick Williams from the T’Wolves for Luc Mbah a Moute, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The deal is pending a physical for Mbah a Moute, who has knee troubles, but a source says that it would have to be really bad for the Wolves to nix the trade (link).
Williams, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has reportedly been on the block for more than a year now and while former GM David Kahn couldn’t find a home for him, new team president Flip Saunders may be on the cusp of doing just that. Williams might have been able to change the new regime’s impression of him with a hot start this season, but 4.9 PPG and 2.4 RPG through eleven games hasn’t helped his stock. Earlier today, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reported that a Williams trade seemed imminent.
The Kings have been aggressively pursuing trades and are reportedly targeting a solution at small forward. Mbah a Moute, a summer pickup, was supposed to be the answer, but he’s more of a role player than a starting three. As the UCLA product averages career-lows in points, rebounds, and minutes per game, Williams could represent an upgrade, even though small forward isn’t his natural position. The T’Wolves gave serious thought to moving Williams to the three – even having him drop from 250 pounds down to ~235 – but he never seemed to get the hang of it in training camp.
If completed, the trade would give Williams a fresh start while reuniting Mbah a Moute with former UCLA teammate Kevin Love. Mbah a Moute will be a defensive upgrade for Minnesota as he and Corey Brewer figure to frustrate opponents on a nightly basis.
Mbah a Moute, 27, is set to earn $4.58MM this season and $4.38MM in 2014/15. Williams, 22, will make $5.29MM this season and $6.68MM next season before reaching restricted free agency.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter) first reported that the two sides were in advanced talks on a swap of Mbah a Moute and Williams.