By Michael Rand
Maybe it’s dangerous to trust gut feelings when they align with moves by a franchise that has been less than successful when doing things the hard way, rather than the obvious way. But we think the late night blockbuster trade of O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love and Mike Miller (and others, mostly for money reasons) will go down as the best in Wolves’ history and perhaps a fleecing for the ages (in the right direction) once all is said and done. We can’t explain exactly what we don’t like about Mayo. We just watch him and see more bust than boom — way more Rider than LeBron. And despite Love’s ridiculous chinstrap facial hair, we’ve been infatuated with his game for a while now. He’ll make Al Jefferson better. He’ll make Corey Brewer better. We would have been happy if the Wolves had taken Love at No. 3; instead, they parlayed the pick into Love, Miller and the shedding of two problematic contracts (Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker). Miller is a sharpshooter. Sure, Cardinal has a bad contract as well (two years and $13 million left), but he’s at least a bigger body who can be useful off the bench. Jason Collins is a 7-footer who has 407 career NBA starts. Mostly, though, it comes down to Love. We like Love over Mayo, straight up. Factor in the rest of the deal, and it was a slam dunk.
Now, the only quibble we have: the way it went down. It’s tough to sell the public on a player like Mayo and then pull him back in the dead of night. Is there a good reason this deal couldn’t have been arranged and ready to go the minute David Stern stepped to the podium? We don’t think so. As we watched the draft with some RandBall regulars (good time had by all), we started trying to convince ourselves that Mayo could be a good fit. Local fans who wanted Mayo were ecstatic, only to be disappointed later. The timing and handling was bad; the end result, though, will be the best thing to happen to this franchise in a long time. And we’re not just saying that because we kind of predicted it.
Fasola-link! Stratego update.