10:46pm: Wolves president of basketball ops Flip Saunders called Wojnarowski’s report “untrue” and told Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune that he’d prefer to wait until the team is at least 20 games into the season to make a major move. Saunders added that the team hasn’t pursued any free agents and that he’ll talk personnel matters with coach Rick Adelman this week before evaluating the roster again next week.
9:46am: The Timberwolves are off to a solid 5-3 start this season, but it sounds as if the team won’t necessarily be content to play out the season with its current roster. League executives tell Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports that both Derrick Williams and Alexey Shved are available in trades that would help the T-Wolves add veteran contributors.
Wojnarowski’s note on the Wolves duo comes within a larger piece on the Knicks, which we covered earlier today. According to the Yahoo! scribe, with Kevin Love eligible for free agency two years from now, the Wolves are “determined to make deals” that would help the club make a deep playoff run this season or next. That could mean trading a talented but inconsistent young player like Williams or Shved for a veteran more capable of helping Minnesota win in the short term.
Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in 2011, has been considered a potential trade candidate for some time, since he has never quite fit in Minnesota. Within his latest piece for Grantland, Zach Lowe notes that other teams have been keeping an eye on Williams “for a while,” sensing an opportunity to buy low on the third-year forward. However, the 22-year-old hasn’t improved his stock much with his subpar play in the Wolves’ first eight contests (5.8 PPG, 8.5 PER).
Shved, 24, had a solid rookie season in Minnesota last year, averaging 8.6 PPG and 3.7 APG. Like Williams though, he has struggled out of the gates this season. If a rival team were to make a run at either player, that suitor would be investing in upside rather than recent performance, meaning the Wolves may not be able to extract as much value as they’d like.