David Aldridge Endorses Trade
Turner Sports reporter David Aldridge, who just wrapped up coverage of the NBA Finals, has covered the NBA for ESPN, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Washington Post in his highly-respected career.
Since Aldridge was in town for Kevin Love's introductory press conference at Target Center on Friday afternoon, we figured his take on the eight-team trade would serve better than our speculation.
Here's what Aldridge had to say about the late draft night deal which brought the rights to Love, former Sixth Man and Rookie of the Year Mike Miller, Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins to Minnesota in exchange for the rights to O.J. Mayo, Antoine Walker, Greg Buckner and Marko Jaric.
MT: David, you happened to be in Minnesota these past two days and have taken in the eight-player trade between the Wolves and Memphis Grizzlies. What's your take?
David Aldridge: Very rarely do you get an equal trade of talent, in my opinion, with (O.J.) Mayo and (Kevin) Love, plus a great perimeter player in Mike Miller. He is a great perimeter player. You talk about teams like the Lakers and Dallas, they've been trying to get Miller for years and he was never available. Plus, you get rid of bad contracts, which allows you to have cap room in the next couple years, and specifically in 2010 when everyone wants it so they can go after LeBron James and Dwyane Wade ... And even if (the Wolves) don't get those guys, there is going to be so much activity and so many trades going on that summer, you want to have the ability to make one of those trades to get a very talented player. You usually get one of those three things, but you don't ever get all three of those in one trade, and they did. That's amazing. That's as good a trade as I've ever seen."
MT: Did this trade have to grow on you a little bit, or were you sold immediately?
Aldridge: It didn't have to grow on me at all. Look, I have no doubt that O.J. Mayo is going to be a really good player in this league. He can shoot the ball, he's competitive, he plays hard, he defends people ... He's going to be a very, very good player in this league. But when you can get size and talent in the form of Love, a kid that got 11 rebounds a game in the Pac-10 as a freshman? Rebounding is rebounding to me - either you can do it or you can't do it, you can't really teach someone to do it. He can do it, and in this league, rebounding is as important a stat as anything. If you can control the glass at both ends, you have a chance to win every night. With Love and Al Jefferson and Miller - who's a very good rebounder at the two or three spot - they can really go after it on the glass now, and that's going to make them a very effective team.
MT: You said a minute ago that this was as good a trade as you'd seen. Did you mean on draft day, or in general?
Aldridge: There are trades like Joe Barry Carroll for (Robert) Parish and (the draft choice used on Kevin McHale) that are kind of at another level, but this is as good of a trade as I've seen in this league in a number of years. Draft day or any other day. Especially for a team that really - in this conference - is in a minefield. You really have to have some talent to compete in this conference, and obviously they didn't have it last year. I think this was a big step towards being that kind of team. Again, they have a ways to go, but there is a future here. There wasn't a future 24 hours ago, at least to me. They have two really talented young big men. They have a very, very skilled three man in Miller. I love (Randy) Foye, I covered him in Philly when he was at Villanova. You have pieces now and I think (Corey) Brewer has some potential, and he can be a really good player in this league. They have pieces now. When you have five or six legitimate good, young players, you have a chance. And that's all you can ask for, a chance to compete in this league.
MT: Covering the NBA for Turner Networks this past season, you didn't get a chance to see Memphis or Minnesota in person much. Do you think that's a reason why people might overlook Mike Miller's 17 points, seven rebounds and 43 percent shooting from three?
Aldridge: You win championships with guys like Mike Miller ... Guys that are really good at what they do. They may fly under the radar a little bit, but when it comes to postseason, guys like that ... Because Al is going to get doubled pretty much every night, and Kevin is going to draw attention, so you have to throw the ball to somebody that can make a shot, and Miller can flat out shoot. That's going to be a great benefit to this team. Is he a superstar? No. But he is a very good player.