Rather than creating our own trade scenarios and proposals for Kevin Love’s (potential) departure, we have decided to reach out to the writers and fans of other teams and asked them to give their best offers for the Timberwolves All-Star. For each offer, we have provided our own thoughts and likelihood of acceptance and have picked the best one at the very end. I want to thank all of the bloggers and fans that have contributed to this roundtable. Enjoy!
Los Angeles Lakers
Johnny Navarrette (@JohnnyNav), Laker NationTimberwolves receive: Greg Monroe (Sign & Trade) Lakers receive: Kevin Love Pistons receive: 7th pick in NBA Draft (LA would select a player for Detroit)
The bad news for the Lakers is that they have limited resources this off-season outside of the #7 pick in the NBA draft and ample cap space. The only players currently under contract are Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, and Robert Sacre. The purple and gold will continue to make a push to acquire Love, but they will need to get creative. While three-team deals are hard to make, that is the best option for the Lakers to get a deal done.
For the T-Wolves, losing Love will hurt, as you don’t replace a player like him. With Greg Monroe, you are bringing in a 23-year old power forward that averages 14 points and 9 rebounds in four seasons.
After years of mediocrity and lottery appearances, it is not unreasonable to think that Minnesota hopes to bring a player in which helps the team move forward, instead of draft picks that could take a few seasons to develop. With players like Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio, and Kevin Martin in place, becoming a playoff team is not too far off. Adding Monroe to the mix might be the best return in terms of player quality and impact.
John: I don’t hate this deal as part of the backbone of something a bit bigger, i.e. draft picks. The Wolves can’t get “just” Monroe in a deal for Love, there has to be something included for a future pick or two.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Charles Chaney (@ThunderObsessed), Thunder ObsessedTimberwolves Receive: Serge Ibaka Thunder Receive: Kevin Love and Timberwolves’ 2014 first-round pick
Throughout Oklahoma City’s history, Sam Presti has rarely made a trade where he didn’t think of the long term effect of the Thunder. For Oklahoma City to acquire Love, it would have to be something where Oklahoma City probably robbed the Wolves. Of course we would see power forwards swap spots. However, Oklahoma City would force the Wolves to give up their first round pick among maybe Alexey Shved to sure up the bench. Is Flip Saunders is that stupid, then I believe Oklahoma City would be Lovin’ it. GET IT.
Alex: Having to part with both Love and their 2014 first-round pick would be too steep a price for the Wolves to pay, even for a player of Ibaka’s caliber. It would be awfully tough to get the better end of a trade with Sam Presti, as his conservative approach will likely keep the core of the Thunder together until Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook get closer to the ends of their respective contracts. And while the Thunder’s sense of urgency to win a title now could spark some interest in trading for Love, he would not be an ideal system fit and would likely compromise the current roster balance that has been carefully structured to get OKC to where they stand right now, which is a perennial Western Conference Finals contender.
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles), CrabdribblesTimberwolves Receive: Chandler Parsons, Robert Covington, Jeremy Lin and Terrence Jones Rockets Receive: Kevin Love
Parting ways with Love would inevitably set the Minnesota Timberwolves on a rebuilding track, so acquiring young assets is key for them, and that’s exactly what they’d get in this trade.
Robert Covington went undrafted in 2013, but he was named the Rookie of the Year in the D-League for the 2013-2014 season, and he flaunted his potential to be a nice spark plug off the bench along the way. Terrence Jones developed into a versatile defender in his sophomore campaign and made strides as a scorer, too. He’s far from a finished product, but his length next to Gorgui Dieng could be devastating defensively. And while Jeremy Lin coming on board for $15 million hurts financially, it would only be for one year, which takes the sting out of it. On the bright side, he could serve as a nice backup to Rubio and would be able to play the two in small ball line-ups.
Finally, seeing as the Rockets have declined Chandler Parsons‘ fourth-year team option, making him a restricted free agent, this trade assumes that he signs a long-term contract, probably in the vicinity of $8-$11 million a year. The Timberwolves would only have around $40 million committed to their roster in 2015-2016, so they could afford Parsons’ new contract — not to mention Rubio’s, too — and still have room to bring in someone else.
Alex: Chandler Parsons would become arguably the best small forward Minnesota has ever had in the history of their franchise, and Terrence Jones displayed last year that he could become a very good player in this league. It is Wolves fans’ worst nightmare to give Love to a Western Conference rival, and putting Love in the same frontcourt as Dwight Howard would create one of the best scoring and rebounding pairings in recent memory. Nonetheless, the Rockets have talented young players to offer Minnesota who are ready to play right now, which is attractive to a franchise that has a long history of missing on their draft picks. I would love to see how a young core of Rubio, Parsons, Jones, Pekovic, Dieng and Muhammad would fit together.
Gerald Bourguet (@GeraldBourguet), Hoops HabitTimberwolves Receive: Eric Bledsoe, reacquire own 2015 first-round pick Suns Receive: Kevin Love
The Suns are one of the few teams in the NBA that can actually make “The Godfather” offer the Wolves are looking for. Phoenix would love to keep their hands on Goran Dragic AND Eric Bledsoe, it doesn’t seem like they’d be able to get away with it for a player like Love. This deal gives Minnesota and up-and-coming star and their 2015 first-rounder back. Giving up the Dragon seems heartless after being Phoenix’s best player the past two seasons, and Suns fans could tell themselves Bledsoe’s knees are a risk. The only caveat is Bledsoe would have to agree to a sign-and-trade and give him something close to a max deal to make the salaries work. Putting together a Gerald Green–Channing Frye–Markieff Morris-two first rounders offer would keep the Dragic-Love-Bledsoe dream trio intact, but it probably wouldn’t be enough for the Wolves. But by giving up Bledsoe, the Suns would need to think about whether or not they’d have enough left that Love would want to re-sign in 2015 and therefore, whether it’d be better to have Love and lost than to never have had Love at all.
Alex: This would be a very intriguing offer for the Wolves to mull as it offers a rising superstar in Bledsoe as well as a possible future rotation player in the 2015 first-round pick. Bledsoe proved for the Clippers that he can play just as well at shooting guard as he does running the offense, although he functions more comfortably as a point guard. With Rubio’s future in Minnesota slightly cloudy, Bledsoe would provide great insurance for the Timberwolves while making the Spaniard expendable. I ultimately see Rubio sticking around in Minnesota for a fair price, and having Bledsoe as a running mate in the backcourt would instantly improve Minnesota on both ends of the floor.
Wade Foley (@WFoleyNBA), More Than a Fan ClevelandTimberwolves Receive: Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, Grizzlies’ first-round pick, Heat first-round pick Cavaliers Receive: Kevin Love
Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers seemed improbable until he told The Big Lead, a USA Today blog; on Wednesday that he doesn’t think the Cavs rumors are outlandish because they have a great young foundation.
Kevin Love tells The BIg Lead, USA Today blog, that he doesn't think #Cavs rumors are outlandish. "They have a great young foundation."
— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) June 12, 2014
I still think Love ending up in Cleveland is very unlikely seeing as he has stated that he’d like to play in a big market. Having a relationship with Kyrie Irving doesn’t hurt, however, and the two would make a nice scoring duo. If I were David Griffin, I wouldn’t consider relinquishing the number one overall pick for Love unless there was a guarantee he would re-sign with the Cavs, and it’s highly unlikely they would get this guarantee. My offer to the Timberwolves would be Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, The Memphis Grizzlies’ pick (1st round pick to Cleveland protected for selections 1-5 and 15-30 in 2015, 1-5 and 15-30 in 2016, 1-5 in 2017 or 1-5 in 2018 or unprotected in 2019) and the Miami Heat’s 2015 first (top 10 protected) OR replace Varejao with Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack. The Timberwolves could potentially be getting two role players that are still on their rookie contracts, a veteran guard or big off the bench, and two future firsts to rebuild with. Also, if Love truly decides he wants to play in Cleveland, it seems like he would push for a trade there while the Cavs refuse to budge on the number one pick. That way he could play alongside Irving and Joel Embiid/Andrew Wiggins. It’s doubtful this will be the Timberwolves best offer, but from the Cavs’ perspective, this should be as good as it gets without a guarantee.
Alex: It is no secret that I am enamored at the prospect of swapping Love for the first overall pick and a few young assets, but it is unclear if the Cavs would be willing to offer as much. I am a firm believer that the 2014 NBA Draft will be the best since 2003 (which sported the likes of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and others to the NBA) and I think that Wiggins, Parker and Embiid are all can’t-miss prospects. Minnesota must face the reality that their superstar will likely not be returning to the Twin Cities, but with this difficult predicament brings an opportunity to draft yet another once-in-a-generation type of talent.
It is no guarantee that the Cavs would be willing to offer the first pick, but they have done a good job of stock-piling first-rounders and would likely dangle multiple middle to late first-round picks before offering up the top selection. If I am Flip Saunders, I do not settle for anything but the first pick + Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. With LeBron’s future in Miami up in the air, the Cavs could make a power move by acquiring Love, thus offering LeBron a chance to reconcile with his former stomping grounds while forming a formidable big three consisting of himself, Irving, and Love (not to mention plenty of young talent surrounding them).
Alex Skov (@AJSkov), Behind The Buck PassTimberwolves Receive: No. 2 pick in 2014 draft, Larry Sanders and O.J. Mayo Bucks Receive: Kevin Love
With the No. 13 pick, the Wolves’ luck is to have done enough to get into the lottery, but just out of reach of any of the marquee names in the draft. There is no room for error if the franchise keeps Love, but that’s not the case if the Timberwolves deal him for a package built around the No. 2 overall pick, where a (theoretical) star will be ripe for the taking. This pick would give the front office breathing space to take the best player available or an immediate contributor/role player at no. 13.
Although O.J. Mayo is coming off an underwhelming season, he is still young (26) and averaged over 11 points per game in each of his six NBA seasons. Mayo could contend with Kevin Martin for the starting shooting guard spot, if the coaching staff so wishes, and allow the organization to figure out if Alexey Shved is a part of Minnesota’s basketball future. Larry Sanders would add an almost strictly defensive presence to the already center-heavy roster, though he could end up as one of the league’s premier shot-blockers if his focus returns to hoops. John Henson could be substituted for Sanders in this scenario, adding more of a scoring threat to the Wolves’ get, but Dieng is already the resident developing lanky big man in blue and white.
John: I’ve always been a fan of Mayo but the past two seasons have left a lot to be desired and I’m falling off the bandwagon. I’ve never been a huge fan of Larry Sanders but he clearly has his backers. Overall, this deal is pretty appealing with the #2 pick in this year’s draft plus those assets.
Flip Saunders and the Wolves have too many second round picks in the 2014 draft, I would start to throw one or two of those in the offer and see if we can get the Bucks to agree to a clause that would allow the teams to flip first round picks over the next few years (for the Wolves benefit of course). With that clause thrown in there, I’m not sure you are going to find a better offer out there.
New York Knicks
Brandon Rushie (@AyoRush), The Knicks WallTimberwolves Receive: Tyson Chandler and Iman Shumpert Knicks Receive: Kevin Love
Hate to be that guy, but I see no scenario in which Phil Jackson convinces Flip Saunders to ship his all-star forward to New York. The Knicks have nothing substantial to offer in return. Yes, Tyson Chandler is still a capable starter at the 5. Iman Shumpert, despite his offensive shortcomings, is an athletic wing defender who can hit the 3 at a decent clip off the catch. But the T-Wolves are already deep at both positions, and if the selling point is simply the cap relief of a few expiring contracts, how much good does that actually do them with their only marquee player on his way out? With the Suns, Bulls, and Lakers in the mix, there’s just too many better options out there for Minnesota.
Alex: With so many other offers out there, I cannot see the Timberwolves settling on such a meager return. Shumpert, once a highly coveted swingman, has not progressed over the past few years and Chandler is no longer the player he once was.In addition to the bloggers above, John wound up asking a few friends that are fans of a few teams on the east coast because, well you know, East Coast Bias. Here are their offers:
David Corsaro (@DavidCorsaro) – Brooklyn Nets FanTimberwolves Receive: Brook Lopez Nets Receive: Kevin Love
John: I absolutely hate not getting future picks from the Nets, which actually could be worth something in the longer term, but not something I want to wait around for either with just Brook Lopez coming back.
Jeff Agress (@JeffAgress) – Philadelphia 76ers FanTimberwolves Receive: Michael Carter-Williams, Thaddeus Young, #10, #32, and #39 in 2014 draft 76ers Receive: Kevin Love
John: Well, not receiving the #3 pick is a non-starter for me in discussions. Aside from that, as mentioned earlier in the write-up, the Wolves already have too many second round picks, so there is no reason to accept those picks in this year’s draft.
MCW + #3 + salary filler might wind up being a decent deal for the Wolves two to three years from now. While I don’t like the following at all, #3 + Thad Young + future picks and salary filler would be something for consideration … if, and only if, Flip knows Love is a goner.
Michael Pinto (@mpinto316) – Boston Celtics FanTimberwolves Receive: Kris Humphries, Joel Anthony, Phil Pressey, and #6 in 2014 draft 76ers Receive: Kevin Love and Ronny Turiaf
He lost me when Jeff Green OR Kelly Olynyk were not included. So I actually went to the trade machine and plugged in the following deal:
Timberwolves Receive: Kris Humphries, Jeff Green, Kelly Olynyk, and #6 in 2014 draft + the right to flip first round picks in 2016-2018 (or similar)
Celtics Receive: Kevin Love, JJ Barea, and #44 & #53 picks from 2014 draft
You knew I would find a way to trade JJ Barea before the end of this write-up, didn’t you? What better way to send him off with Kevin Love so they can be teammates forever?
John: Well, I like the trade that I drew up with the Celtics, but that isn’t going to happen. From the offers received directly from others, I like the Bucks offer the most. That said, I doubt the Bucks would take a gamble on renting Love for a season because if he isn’t staying in Minnesota, I can’t imagine he’ll want to stay in Milwaukee. (I hate this entire situation.)
Alex: I want to see the Timberwolves make a trade that nets them established young players instead of acquiring several first-round draft picks, as the franchise has previously had so much trouble turning first-round picks into successful NBA players. The trade with Houston centered around Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones strikes me as a handsome return as Parsons has established himself as one of the top young swingmen in the game and Jones proved last season that he has serious upside stretching the floor at both forward spots. However, if Cleveland is willing to offer up the first overall pick along with some complementary young talent (namely Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson) then I would be willing to take a chance on the number 1 pick which would end up being either Andrew Wiggins, Jabrari Parker or Joel Embiid. This would give the Timberwolves their best opportunity to grab a player who could potentially turn into a player of Love’s caliber or even greater.