The Kevin Love sweepstakes took a back seat in the news as the entire league waited and watched where LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony were going to take their talents this summer. As both elected to sign back to the team they were most familiar with, the focus of free agency then shifted back to Love.
Love is coming off of his best season in the NBA while playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The double-double machine averaged 26.1 points per game, while grabbing 12.5 rebounds per contest. Love is considered by most in the league as the best at his position. With all that being said, the next phase of his career could rest on the wants of the aforementioned James.
James has openly recruited Love to come play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, even at the expense of the current roster. The deal of two first-round draft picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, plus a first-round draft pick for next season doesn’t seem to tickle the fancy of the Timberwolves.
The Cavs can sell the deal with the premise that the ceilings of both Wiggins and Bennett will be worth the top-tier talent of Love in the long run. Wiggins is a freakish athletic wing man with a raw offensive game. His showing in summer league points to his much talked about ceiling. He recently had 21 points on just five shot attempts. Bennett, however, is a different story, struggling much of his rookie year to even see the court. Once on the floor, he often looked lost and simply not ready to produce.
Bennett has showed some promise in the summer league this year, but it doesn’t seem like its enough to convince the Timberwolves to pull the trigger; they simply want more. The Timberwolves have the upper-hand in any deal left on the table in terms of naming a price, but aiming too high could leave them with no suitors for Love.
The Golden State Warriors are the other team most linked to the Love sweepstakes. They have the assets to offer a more tantalizing offer than a trade headlined by two unproven players in Wiggins and Bennett. The Warriors have offered up Harrison Barnes and David Lee in a a deal for Love. The Timberwolves also would want one half of the notorious “Splash Brothers,” sharpshooter Klay Thompson.
Thompson seems to be the most important part of the whole deal, and rightfully so. He has the much-needed skill of dead-eye shooting coupled with above-average defense on the perimeter. The Warriors were reluctant to include Thompson in any deal prior to James and Anthony making their respective decisions.
The Warriors are now choosing to include Thompson in the deal, making the offer just that much more tempting for the Timberwolves to finally pull the trigger. Whether it is a good or bad idea for the Warriors, they now are comfortable trading Thompson.
Some would argue that that is the wrong move for the Warriors, but the Timberwolves need to move fast while the offer is still on the table. Simply put, they will get nothing in return if they don’t deal the disgruntled Love prior to next offseason when he is free to walk away from the organization.
The best offer on the table for Love is the deal from the Warriors. The Timberwolves would be receiving three proven starters from the Warriors deal that would solidify their roster for the next couple years. The deal from the Cavs, to be as blunt as possible, is a deal that simply has too many “what ifs” around it.
What if Wiggins turns out to be the superstar that everyone is hoping he turns out to be? What if Bennett pans out to live up to the stigma of being drafted first overall? What if neither of the latter happens and they deal Love to the Cavs simply because James wants him there? The smart move for the Timberwolves would be to pull the trigger on the Warriors deal — plain and simple.