Sources have informed Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter links) that the Blazers and Wolves had talks regarding what Bonnell termed, “a major deal,” though the discussions ended without any deal being struck. Bonnell also noted that the discussions were salary cap room driven, though he didn’t specify which players may have been involved, nor which team initiated the talks. The Trail Blazers currently have just $48,304,966 in guaranteed salary on the books for 2015/16, while the Timberwolves are over the $70MM salary cap with a total of $73,620,533 in guaranteed salary committed for next season, so it stands to reason that Minnesota was the franchise looking to shed some payroll, though that is merely my speculation.
The Wolves currently have a roster count of 17, including 16 players possessing fully guaranteed pacts, while Portland currently has 17 players on its roster, 12 of whom have fully guaranteed contracts. One aspect that could have made facilitating a trade easier is that almost all of Minnesota’s roster is eligible to be traded immediately since the franchise wasn’t especially active on the free agent market this offseason. Players who sign in the summer can’t be traded until December 15th at the earliest, or for 30 days after signing if they’re a draft pick.
There have been reports relaying that the Wolves were entertaining the idea of trading Ricky Rubio, who is scheduled to earn $12.7MM this coming season. Portland wouldn’t appear to be a match for the point guard, seeing as Damian Lillard is already firmly entrenched as the starter and franchise centerpiece at the point. Lillard certainly has the ability, if not the size, to play shooting guard full time, but it’s highly doubtful that the team would look to acquire Rubio, unless a third team were to potentially get involved.