1:58pm: Saunders suggested today that Brewer is too valuable to the Wolves for the team to move him, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press.
THURSDAY, 10:48am: Houston has become a more likely destination for Brewer than Cleveland, though the situation remains in flux, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Rockets are ready to make a move immediately, Stein adds (Twitter link), echoing a report from Wednesday that the team is anxious to use its Jeremy Lin trade exception. The Cavs are still deciding whether they should make the addition of a rim-protector a higher priority than bringing aboard a wing defender like Brewer, according to Stein.
5:28pm: Cleveland is “unquestionably” interested in acquiring Brewer, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, who hears from a Cavs official who describes the swingman as a perfect fit, in part because he would allow the team to keep Dion Waiters out of the starting lineup. Still, the Rockets have as much chance as the Cavs do to land Brewer, Amico adds, suggesting that the Wolves are indeed in no hurry to trade him.
MONDAY, 3:35pm: Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders tried to bat down the rumor today, telling reporters that the team won’t rush into a decision, as Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press notes (Twitter link).
SUNDAY, 5:16pm: A key factor for a team acquiring Brewer is getting him to waive him player option for 2015/16, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (on Twitter) hears.
4:32pm: The Wolves are in active trade discussions regarding Corey Brewer, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The two teams mentioned as being most serious contenders interested in acquiring the 28-year-old swingman are the Rockets and the Cavaliers, notes Stein. The Wolves are reportedly seeking future assets in any deal. It is unclear if that means Minnesota is interested in a return of a younger player or draft picks for Brewer, either of which would help hasten the team’s rebuilding process.
Brewer’s primary value is as a defensive stopper on the perimeter, something that Cleveland in particular could use, and Brewer’s defensive skill is at a premium in the league with the increased focus on guard-driven offense. Brewer is also a capable transition scorer, and if he ends up in Cleveland he would reunite with former teammate Kevin Love, whose outlet passes often found Brewer in transition with great success last season, notes Stein. The other appeal that Brewer has to the Cavs is in his ability to play and defend multiple positions. And he also make sense for the Cavs as they look to get stronger at two guard to help keep LeBron James‘ minutes down.
The Rockets have been said to covet Brewer since last season, Stein notes. Houston could use depth at both the small forward and shooting guard spots, and Brewer would help solidify what is already a strong defensive unit, with the Rockets currently second in the league in fewest points allowed at a stingy 91.6 per game. Houston head coach Kevin McHale also has ties to Brewer having drafted him when he was the GM in Minnesota back in 2007.
Both the Rockets and Cavaliers currently have the league-maximum 15 players on their rosters, but each team could fit Brewer’s salary of $4,702,500 into a trade exception, meaning neither would have to send Minnesota a player in return. However, absorbing Brewer’s salary without sending anyone to the Wolves might put the Cavs into tax territory, depending on whom the team would relinquish in a separate transaction to fit Brewer beneath the 15-man roster limit. The Rockets, roughly $10MM clear of the tax threshold, have no such concerns.