The Wolves now have just a handful of healthy guys who can play small forward. Brandon Roy and Alexey Shved can both play some small forward, however they'll be needed to play those shooting guard minutes. Andrei Kirilenko is the starting small forward and should see a slight bump in minutes 32-40 minutes a night (he played 42 vs. the Bulls on Saturday). Power forwards Dante Cunningham and Derrick Williams have already been talked to (by Rick Adelman) about playing some small forward minutes. Though they have a position they need to cover (power forward), Lou Amundson should see some more time in the frontcourt if Dante or Derrick play small forward.
That leaves the Wolves with minimal options, they can choose to do nothing and likely suffer some winnable games, because they have just ten healthy players or they can swing a trade or sign a free agent. The Wolves would either waive Will Conroy or ask the NBA for an injury exception, so they could keep their 15 players and grab a veteran wing player.
Let's take a look at some of the small forward free agents...
1.) Mickael Pietrus: Pietrus is a player that the Wolves have flirted with all offseason. He played last season in Boston. In 42 games (and 21.9mpg) Pietrus averaged 6.9ppg, 3.1rpg, shot .385 from the field and .335 from deep. The 30-year-old, nine-year pro continues to look for work (a team to play for) in large part because he's only been offered the veteran's minimum--and he wants more. If the Timberwolves want to sign him, that veteran's minimum is all they'll have to offer.
2.) Josh Howard: Howard played last season in Utah, he played 43 games (starting 18). He's far from his all-star days in Dallas, however he's still a VERY capable backup wing. Last season's averages were 8.7ppg, 3.7rpg, 40% FG & 24% 3PT in 23mpg. Howard is in a similar situation as Pietrus, he's not on-board with the idea of taking the veteran's minimum (especially when there are other teams that still have exceptions, ie: can pay him much more).
3.) Michael Redd: Redd was someone they targeted in the offseason. The Wolves had planned to bring him in on a non-guaranteed training camp deal, but he backed out at the last minute. If the Wolves are looking to replace some of Budinger's three-point shooting, Redd is probably the best option on this list, as a shooter. He played 51 games (2 starts) for the Phoenix Suns last season with averages of (in 15.1mpg) 8.2ppg & 1.5rpg, 40% FG & 32% 3PT.
OTHERS: James Anderson, Kelenna Azubuike, Renaldo Balkman, Rodney Carney, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Maurice Evans, Gary Forbes, Joey Graham, Stephen Graham, Donte Greene, Mike Harris, Lazar Hayward, Damion James, Adam Morrison, Jamario Moon, Quentin Richardson, Quinton Ross, Bobby Simmons, Alando Tucker, Bill Walker, Shawne Williams,Terrence Williams.
The Timberwolves could explore a trade for someone like Raja Bell of the Utah Jazz. Not too many teams are looking to make trades right now.
We'll keep you posted with all of this, stay tuned for more, until then thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!