What’s Best For All?
Minnesota forward Kevin Love is just the latest star nearing the end of his contract to want out of their current situation.
After six seasons with the Timberwolves, none of which has resulted in even a whiff of the playoffs, Love will be a free agent after year seven. It’s not a debate on whether or not he’ll leave; it’s just a debate on how he’ll leave and where he should go.
If the Timberwolves’s management was smart, which the 153-339 record in the Love-era says otherwise, they’d try and facilitate a trade that works out not only for Love, but them as well. By all accounts this seems to be what they are trying to do, despite team officials publicly stating the intention to keep Kevin through the upcoming season and beyond.
There are a few teams who’ve already offered packages to the Timberwolves, with the Cleveland Cavaliers being the clear frontrunner in the eyes of many.
They have the ability to offer the Wolves this year’s number one overall pick in Andrew Wiggins, last year’s number one pick Anthony Bennett and a future first round pick. The Cavs would be more willing to go through with the trade if it were Dion Waiters rather than Wiggins, but the Wolves have pushed for him to be included instead. Wiggins just signed his rookie deal with Cleveland and under league rules, cannot be traded for 30 days after, putting this deal on hold in the time being.
Chicago has been quiet on the Love front, but after missing out on Carmelo Anthony, they have thrown their names into the fray in the last couple of days. They have been reported as offering Taj Gibson, and rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. Like the Cavs, they too have offered up potential, but also included a proven player.
Gibson is coming off his best season yet as a pro despite fighting with Carlos Boozer for floor time and with added time, could make another mini-leap. McDermott was named National Player of the Year in 2014 while leading the nation in scoring and Mirotic has been long coveted as the next big Euro player. Both would be great passing targets for guard Ricky Rubio if they were traded for Love, who would in turn team with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler under the leadership of Coach Tom Thibodeau. He’d become the offensive scorer they have lacked to pair with Rose.
The Golden State Warriors are the team that has been rumored to be on the verge of acquiring Love the longest. What they can offer the Wolves are a combination of proven players in David Lee, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes. The sticking point that has come up in this scenario is the inclusion of Thompson. The Warriors aren’t willing to part with him though and think he may be an asset in keeping Love if acquired as they have been longtime-childhood friends.
Love on the Warriors would result in an offensive explosion. His shooting abilities combined with those of Stephen Curry and Thompson (if not included in the deal) would give teams a headache and his size and rebounding abilities gives the team a reliable presence inside which they have not had. David Lee replaces Love’s double double prowess and Barnes was growing into his own in Golden State before being replaced by Andre Iguodala. Thompson would be a valuable asset as well for the Wolves, but would they really subject themselves to the pains of this again when Thompson’s contract would be up soon?
The proven players the Warriors can offer the Wolves are certainly better than the nothing they’d receive if Love walked via free agency, but put themselves under because they aren’t willing to part with Thompson. The Bulls offer is enticing as well, but could the Wolves really disparage the Cavs offer of Wiggins? He has the potential to play Scottie Pippen to LeBron’s Michael Jordan in due time, however the fact of the matter is, the Cavs may not have the time to see if Wiggins can develop into that.
Like everything these days, it all leads back to LeBron James, who claims he wants to win now rather than later. Wiggins-like potential just doesn’t waltz onto a team’s roster every year, especially not for teams like the Cavs and Wolves, but in this case, the Cavs need to show LeBron they are making the right moves to win in the now. Their willingness to trade all that potential for a proven star like Love is example enough and the reason why they will most likely win out against other offers.
Free agency would make sense for no one. Obviously not the Wolves and whichever team has enough space to sign Love, would probably have minimal talent level to pair up with him, leaving him in the same situation.
Kevin Love does have to agree to sign an extension with whichever team he’s being traded to or else why give up so much, but for all included, the Cavs would make the most sense and he’d definitely extend his contract with the team to join LeBron in Cleveland along with guard Kyrie Irving, who just signed an extension.
Love would finally make the playoffs and contend for a championship with the talented teammates he has not had in Minnesota. In turn for giving up their franchise centerpiece, the Wolves can start anew once again, this time with Wiggins.