One of the NBA’s most frequently mentioned trade candidates over the past couple of years appears to be on the block again. Team executives from around the league tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that the Timberwolves are making Derrick Williams available in trade talks, as we passed along earlier today. The Wolves are also shopping Alexey Shved, according to the report, but Williams is the much more intriguing name.
The news comes just two and a half weeks after the Timberwolves committed to Williams through 2014/15, picking up the former No. 2 overall pick’s option for more than $6.3MM next season. That could make Williams either more difficult or easier to trade, depending on how rival clubs view him. Timberwolves president Flip Saunders and GM Milt Newton surely hope they can find a team that still believes in the potential that made Williams such a high draft selection and sees his $6.3MM+ salary next season as a potential bargain. The option pickup also allows Williams to remain on track for restricted free agency, furthering his value to a team that has faith in him.
Conversely, Williams no longer has value as an expiring deal, and teams that feel as though his career lows of 5.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 17.3 minutes this season are more reflective of his worth than his draft status might not be willing to commit for two years. The Timberwolves appear ready to improve their roster now to demonstrate to potential 2015 free agent Kevin Love that they’re serious about winning, but that could be tough to accomplish with Williams off to such a slow start.
There are teams that see Williams as an intriguing buy-low candidate, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports. Of course, that would make Williams a “sell-low” proposition for the Wolves, so perhaps now isn’t the right time for a trade. Still, if Williams continues to languish on Minnesota’s bench and gets farther removed from his days as a promising college prospect, his value may only decrease.
Let us know if you think it’s time for the Wolves to pull the trigger on a Williams deal, and elaborate on your thoughts in the comments.