It's no secret that the Los Angeles Clippers are in need of an upgrade at the small forward position. They'd especially like a lock-down wing defender that they can stick on the opposition's top perimeter scorer. Now, for the second week in a row, an intriguing name has surfaced as being available.
Last week it was Andrei Kirilenko, traded by the Brooklyn Nets to Philadelphia and subsequently waived. Unfortunately, that's just the first step in what figures to be a drawn out process before Kirilenko plays basketball again, as the one-time All Defensive team fixture is dealing with some personal issues and has no interest in signing with anyone right now.
Today comes word that the Minnesota Timberwolves are shopping Corey Brewer. Brewer's availability isn't really a surprise: the Wolves are going nowhere this season, especially with all of their injuries, and they have a major glut at the small forward spot. With first overall pick and likely Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, along with Shabazz Mohammed who is starting to play well, not to mention Chase Budinger all competing with Brewer for minutes, the Wolves were bound to try to move someone.
Brewer could be a very nice fit in LA with the Clippers -- in many ways, he's very much like Matt Barnes, just younger and more athletic than Matt is at this point (though he is quite a bit worse as an outside shooter). Brewer was a high draft pick when he entered the league because of his defensive potential -- he's long, he's mobile, and he's athletic, and everyone expected him to be a great defender. He has never quite lived up to lottery pick expectations, but he is still long and mobile, and he'd be a defensive upgrade over any wing on the current roster.
Unfortunately, it's basically impossible to imagine a trade that would work to bring Brewer to the Clippers. He's making $4.7M and the Clippers have basically no flexibility to bring in more salary in their current situation. Nor do they have much to offer that might interest the Timberwolves. A straight up Jamal Crawford for Brewer trade would work financially -- but would just create a different problem for the Clippers, and wouldn't hold any interest for the Wolves since they already have Kevin Martin in that role and they're in rebuilding mode. Would either Reggie Bullock or C.J. Wilcox be of interest to Minny? Possibly, but even then there would need to be something else in the deal to make it work financially, and the Clippers would probably have to include more sweetener to get it done.
Bottom line is, Corey Brewer is a very, very long shot to wind up with the Clippers. We're still in wait and see mode on Kirilenko.