T'Wolves eying 5th pick?

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     As we draw closer to Thursday’s NBA draft, the rumors figure to start flying fast and furious as teams try to either move up or move down, or even out, of the draft. Here’s another interesting one involving the Wizards. In the past week, I’ve spoken to two different league sources that have linked Minnesota to the Wizards as a possible trade partner for that No. 5 pick in the draft.

     According to one insider, the Timberwolves (who already have the sixth, 18th and 28th picks in the draft) disparately want to move up in order to land UConn big man Hasheem Thabeet. Another report has them badly wanting Rubio. Either way, the T’Wolves are said to be craving Memphis’ No. 2 pick, but believe to land it, they need to offer two top-six picks in the draft. Enter the Wizards.

     Minnesota reportedly has been working the phones nonstop and of all the teams in the league they’re talking to, they’ve been in speaking with the Wizards the most. Some of the pieces Minnesota is believed to be offering up are swingman Mike Miller, who has a $9.75 million expiring contract, guard Randy Foye, the expiring contracts of Brian Cardinal ($6.75 million) and Mark Madsen ($3.6 million) and possibly the 18th and/or 28th picks.

     Miller, an eighth-year veteran, had his worst year of his career last season, averaging 9.9 points. But for his career, averages 13.9 points a game on 46.2 percent shooting (40.1 percent from 3-point range). He could meet the Wizards’ perceived desire to upgrade their perimeter attack. But it seems like more pieces would be needed to make this work, even if Minnesota agrees to take on one of the Wizards’ expiring contracts — Etan Thomas ($7.3 million for now, but more if he is traded because of a $2 million trade kicker in his contract) or Mike James ($6.5 million).

      Another league source confirmed Minnesota has been haggling to land the Wizards 5th pick, but called it unlikely that the teams would be able to reach an agreement. The source said there is, however, a possibility that Minnesota would be able to work a deal with Oklahoma City to obtain the third pick.

      Stay tuned …

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