Apparently the auction is on for Kevin Love, or at least that's what recent reports would lead us to believe. More teams continue to express "interest" in the Wolves star. The latest comes from Marc Spears at Yahoo who writes that the Sacramento Kings would be willing to trade for Love with no assurances that he would stay beyond the remaining year on his contract.
Spears also writes unequivocally:
Love's representatives with Excel Sports have pushed Timberwolves president Flip Saunders to find an acceptable trade prior to the start of free agency in July. Without a trade, Love plans to opt out of his contract in the summer of 2015 and likely leave Minnesota as a free agent.
No surprise there, though again, "likely to leave" doesn't mean "leaving," and there remain reasons to keep him around if the Wolves don't get a good offer.
As for Sacramento, why they would want to do this is unclear, but I suppose showing you are willing to take risks to acquire talent has some value. And perhaps they think they can make the playoffs with Love playing next to DeMarcus Cousins, though in the loaded West I have a hard time seeing that with the perimeter talent they (don't) have.
The deal would have to include the 8th pick in the draft, which is a bit of an asset, though not particularly valuable in my view. Darren Wolfson tweeted out this morning that the two guys who interest the Wolves around that spot would be Noah Vonleh (good choice) and Julius Randle (not a very good choice), though both of them might be gone by then.
Re: Love to Kings trade idea report -- prob. only enticing to #Twolves if can get Randle/Vonleh at 8. Hear they favor those two over Gordon.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) May 27, 2014
A Kings trade only becomes interesting if you are a believer in Ben McLemore, which I am not, though the Wolves liked him very much last year at draft time. How his (pretty poor) rookie year might have changed their opinion I don't know, but if they liked him then, they probably still like him now.
McLemore played a lot--over 2000 minutes as a 20 year old rookie, but didn't do anything well. His shooting was supposed to be his calling card, but he shot the ball terribly--under 40% from the field and 32% from three. To be fair, young shooters sometimes take time to adjust to the NBA 3 point distance, but there is no evidence that he has anything else in his game.
The deal could take a couple of forms: Love for the 8th pick, McLemore, and parts (the parts aren't so good--Jason Terry's expiring contract maybe, but other than Derrick Williams, they don't have other expirings). The other way would include Rudy Gay's huge contract, which might permit the Wolves to dump a contract or two (Kevin Martin)? It would still have to include McLemore and the pick, of course.
None of this seems particularly appealing to me, what do you think?
The other team that is starting to get mentioned is the Washington Wizards. This from David Aldridge via Probasketballtalk:
Wiz are a stealth candidate for Kevin Love - his father, Stan, who played for the then-Bullets in the early '70s, gave his son the middle name "Wesley," as in Wes Unseld. And Kevin Love has a soft spot as a result for the franchise. But the trade talk will surely die when the words "Bradley Beal" come out of Flip Saunders' mouth.
This is simpler to parse: There is no possible deal without Bradley Beal involved. I'm not a huge Beal fan (his playoff run was impressive, but small sample. He was not great in the regular season. To be fair, he's very young still, and he's a good three point shooter. Clearly more appealing than McLemore). But he's the one appealing piece the Wizards could part with, and if they won't, then there is no deal. It would have to be something like Nene, Beal, and a future pick for Love and Barea.
The scariest thing about this entire process is that I have no faith in Flip's assessments. It's easy for me to dismiss certain things---Golden State, for example, with David Lee involved, but who knows how he views these guys. I have almost no interest in Ben McLemore as a serious piece of a trade, but Flip apparently loved him last year.
I know the teams I would be focused on talking to, but have no idea what Flip might be hatching.
What are you thinking about all of this?