RUMOR MILL ROLLING
Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations/coach Tom Thibodeau and GM Scott Layden haven’t made a trade in 14 months on the job. This is the summer they need to get busy, either through a trade or free agency. Here are some names — many with big salaries — to watch that fit their needs:
Jimmy Butler, G/F, Chicago: Thibodeau’s dream “get,” but even if the Bulls are ready to start all over by trading their All-Star, Boston, to name one team, has more to offer.
LaMarcus Aldridge, F, San Antonio: The five-time All-Star from his Portland days wilted when he needed to carry the Spurs after Kawhi Leonard’s playoff injury, but the Wolves would need him only as a third or fourth option.
Kenneth Faried, F, Denver: Very limited offensively, but an energy guy with a physical presence whom Thibodeau coached for USA Basketball.
Dwight Howard, C, Atlanta: The Wolves need defense and toughness, and he might be available basically to any team willing to absorb his $23 million salary. His contract ends in 2019 just as Karl-Anthony Towns’ extension will start.
Bismack Biyombo, F, Orlando: Is it possible for the Magic’s new management to have buyer’s remorse over a four-year, $68 million contract its predecessor paid a shot-blocker and rebounder last year?
Iman Shumpert, G, Cleveland: Like Golden State’s Andre Iguodala in free agency, can the Wolves use changes sure to come with the Warriors and Cavaliers to add a wing defender?
Jae Crowder, F, Boston: If the Celtics come out of the draft with Josh Jackson, Crowder is a determined defender who could be available.
Wes Matthews, G, Dallas, or Allen Crabbe, G, Portland: The Wolves need shooting, and the big price to pay for either overpaid player is a big salary.
Eric Bledsoe, G, Phoenix: While the Wolves want to add experience, the Suns might go younger yet if they draft Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox or another point guard with their No. 4 overall pick.
Reggie Jackson, PG, Detroit: Last February’s reported Jackson-for-Ricky Rubio deal had no legs, but draft time can change things.