Only the L.A. Clippers have improved more than the Minnesota Timberwolves year over year; the Wolves, for the past two seasons complete laughingstocks, are legitimately in the playoff mix out West. With Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams at age 20 and Kevin Love just 23, time is on Minnesota's side. But you can't blame the club for getting greedy and looking to bolster the core for a playoff run and a crescendo toward contention within five years. Because of that and GM David Kahn's infamous activity level, expect to hear plenty about the Wolves over the next week.
NEEDS & TARGETS
The Wolves have one significant hole: the wing, where the production battle has been a complete bloodbath. The Wolves have a PER deficit of 5.8 at shooting guard and 6.5 at small forward, negating nice advantages at power forward and center. Williams has been far better at power forward (backing up Love) than at small forward, whereas Beasley hasn't been great in either spot. Wesley Johnson is abysmal, Martell Webster is roughly the same, and this squad needs help out there.
Thankfully, Nikola Pekovic has filled the gaping hole at center, and the Wolves are far better with him on the floor versus Darko Milicic. Minnesota has reportedly been requesting a first-round pick for Beasley (good luck), and wouldn't be expected to deal Williams for anything less than a star. Solving the problem on the wing in March seems like a difficult stretch, but never count out the genius of KAHN.
SALARY CAP SITUATION
The Wolves are $2 million under the salary cap, according to ShamSports.com. That gives Minnesota the flexibility to facilitate trades for teams flirting with the luxury tax threshold.