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Friday (Credit to Flip if Love/Wiggins deal comes through) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated July 18th at 11:31am 267660791

saundersWe didn’t really like Flip Saunders’ first draft as Wolves President in 2013, when it seemed as though the team got caught without a plan when dealing the No. 9 pick (Trey Burke) for No. 14 (Shabazz Muhammad) and No. 21 (Gorgui Dieng). But now we’re absolutely in love with Dieng as a player and like the potential of Muhammad as well.

We weren’t sure about all of the free agent moves Saunders made last year — Kevin Martin, Corey Brewer, re-signing Nikola Pekovic — but in retrospect we at least could understand the reasoning of trying to build as good of a short-term roster as possible in an attempt to keep Kevin Love’s wandering eye from drifting too far astray.

When that didn’t work, we were sure the Wolves needed to deal Love before the NBA draft in June in order to maximize his value and expand the number of possible teams in play.

But Saunders, once again, is proving that he deserves the benefit of the doubt — this time in the most important decision of his tenure-to-date. Whether it was intuition that the post-draft, free agency world of the NBA could yield better Love deals — maybe even a hunch that LeBron-to-Cleveland could happen — or whether Saunders stumbled into some good fortune, his patience is being rewarded.

Love to Cleveland for the last two No. 1 overall picks, and perhaps some other assets, is a better deal than we could have imagined possible — not because we doubt Love as a player, but because the leverage in any potential deal feels equally divided between the Wolves, Love and the acquiring team.

Now it’s time to close the deal. We do not care one bit that Golden State is reportedly willing to part with Klay Thompson. This chatter with Cleveland is not to gain leverage in a mediocre trade with the Warriors. The purpose is to make the deal with the Cavs. Put Golden State on some version of eternal call waiting, Flip, and get this thing done with Cleveland.

Our guess is that Flip wants the Cavs deal. He talked post-draft about hitting home runs instead of settling for doubles. The baseball analogy was apt in that he was saying teams like the Wolves need to shoot for franchise players, even at the risk of swinging and missing. The Cleveland deal could be a home run. The Golden State deal, with Thompson, would be a double.

You’ve played everything perfectly so far, Flip. Finish this off, and you will have aced the biggest test of your tenure.

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New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 90 4th Qtr 2:16
Philadelphia 98
Houston 69 3rd Qtr 0:27
Boston 64
Portland 74 4th Qtr
Atlanta 69
Sacramento 57 3rd Qtr 2:34
Cleveland 75
Toronto 90 3rd Qtr 2:11
Brooklyn 80
Dallas 33 3rd Qtr
Miami 45
LA Clippers 54 3rd Qtr
New Orleans 53
Golden State 2 1st Qtr 9:09
Utah 8
Chicago 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Pittsburgh 0 3rd Prd 9:04
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 2 3rd Prd 6:21
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 1st Prd 17:25
Colorado 0
Buffalo 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Chicago 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 45 2nd Half 13:22
Arizona State 43
Yale 43 2nd Half 16:40
Columbia 37
Monmouth 32 2nd Half 17:14
Fairfield 24
IUPUI 39 2nd Half 12:12
Western Ill 40
Oregon State 9:00 PM
Arizona
Kent State 9:00 PM
Buffalo
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 20 2nd Half
DePaul 48
Villanova 40 2nd Half 20:00
Marquette 32
Wichita State 35 2nd Half 16:28
Northern Iowa 14
Xavier 36 2nd Half 15:15
Creighton 43
Bradley 41 2nd Half 17:59
Illinois State 30
Missouri State 42 2nd Half 20:00
Drake 49
Arizona 10 1st Half 12:49
Utah 6
(11) Arizona State 2 1st Half 16:48
Colorado 4

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