Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Love trade rumors: How the Suns and others can sell a deal

Now we know the Minnesota Timberwolves have hit the point where they must face reality and consider trading forward Kevin Love. President Flip Saunders must at the least listen to offers, and if he finds an acceptable deal he’ll have to allow Love to sign off on a move — a team dolling out an arm and a leg for the All-Star would need assurance he would sign a long-term deal with them.

That two-step process involves the Phoenix Suns, but there will be a line out the T-Wolves’ front door ready to offer trade proposals. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets will chase after Love, adding to ESPN’s Marc Stein earlier report that the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors join the Suns, Lakers and Celtics in the race. So what are the Timberwolves looking for, and what can the candidates to land Love offer the forward?

Phoenix Suns

What the ‘Wolves would want: It’s unclear if the Timberwolves are insistent upon a high first round pick, but the Suns do have enough picks to package them into a more tempting first-round choice this year or next. Salary-wise, the Suns could deal a combination including the Morris twins, Miles Plumlee or either of Alex Len or Archie Goodwin — though the latter would be done more reluctantly. It’s unclear if Minnesota would somehow try to force the Suns to part with one of their two star guards in any deal.

What would lure Love: The Oregon kid would get away from the cold and the wet, for one. On the basketball side of things, Love would fit right into an offense that utilizes the pick-and-roll to his strengths, spreads the court and could use a big man to pass out of the post. If Phoenix can convince him he was the missing piece to make the squad an elite contender, which isn’t a hard argument, it could be intriguing for a player who is desperate to taste the playoffs.

Why not?: Other teams have more seasoned playoff rosters, and Love may want to play with another more established star such as Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry or Derrick Rose.

Golden State Warriors

What the ‘Wolves would want: Certainly, it would make sense for the Warriors to trade Harrison Barnes since his development opportunities have been put aside to play Andre Iguodala and win now. David Lee would be expendable at power forward as a similar offensive threat to Love.

What would lure Love: Steve Kerr could plug Love in immediately and the Warriors would be considered to have upgraded in a very deep Western Conference. They would join San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers as the class of the conference.

Why not?: If the T-Wolves want to acquire draft picks, working out a deal with Golden State might be tough. Barnes is a nice grab and can develop, and while Lee would fit well with Nikola Pekovic, he’s 31 years old. Minnesota can probably get better offers, or it would at least need to get another team involved in a trade. Additionally, the Warriors would have to make major maneuvers to open up cap space.

Houston Rockets

What the ‘Wolves would want: Houston has long been dangling Omer Asik as a trade asset, and the same goes for Jeremy Lin. The Timberwolves would probably also want to acquire small forward Chandler Parsons, according to Wojnarowski.

What would lure Love: Winning. A Dwight Howard-Kevin Love frontcourt could be hell to stop, and Love is familiar and friendly with former T-Wolves executive and coach Kevin McHale, according to Wojnarowski. Playing with James Harden wouldn’t be the worst thing either.

Why not?: Like the Warriors, the Rockets don’t have a lot of draft assets to swing a deal in their favor but they do have a talented big man — though Asik and Pekovic probably wouldn’t go well — and a versatile swingman. Houston would also need to adjust its roster to allow for another very big contract.

Chicago Bulls

What the ‘Wolves would want: It’s hard to conceive how such a deal would work for the T-Wolves. Chicago has some intriguing young swingmen in Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell but nothing seems super appealing from the Bulls roster alone.

What would lure Love: Playing with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah is enough to tempt Love. He and Rose would be a terror on the pick-and-roll, and the Bulls’ stellar defense would mask Love’s deficiencies on that end.

Why not?: Minnesota might not be impressed with a Chicago offer, and Love might have to be sold on how coach Tom Thibodeau would utilize him; the latter, however, would probably be an easy hurdle to overcome. Financially, the Bulls would open up a bit of cap space by amnestying Carlos Boozer.

Boston Celtics

What the ‘Wolves would want: The T-Wolves certainly would want this year’s lottery pick from the Celtics, plus future draft compensation. Minnesota could also shed unnecessary salary since Boston has salary cap space.

What would lure Love: The ability to team with Rajon Rondo would be similar to Love’s teaming with Ricky Rubio, and the tradition of winning in Boston can sell itself.

Why not?: Boston head coach Brad Stevens is still new to the game, and Love would need to be confident that the Celtics can become a threat in the Eastern Conference sooner rather than later. It’s also a question of whether Minnesota wants known trade pieces — as in proven NBA players — to come back in a Love deal.

Los Angeles Lakers

What the ‘Wolves would want: First round picks. And that’s about it.

What would lure Love: Though the Lakers’ future is a black hole, a tandem of Love and an aging Kobe Bryant could still be somewhat enticing. Los Angeles has the ability to do quite a bit in the future, and one would think Love would have to at least think about learning from Bryant.

Why not?: There’s too much unknown in the near future, and that’s even discounting the risk of Bryant’s body failing him in the final two years of his contract.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Why would Love stay? If Minnesota can hire a head coach that knows how to utilize Love and the unique talent around him, there’s still a shot the T-Wolves can quickly turn themselves into a playoff contender. That’s a big if. Love may miss out on a five-year deal, and around $15 million over two years, if he becomes a free agent and loses his bird rights by staying in Minnesota next season, but unrestricted free agency wouldn’t be the worst thing. He could ride this year out and have all the decision-making in his own hands.

  • Devon Fetu’u Finai

    you know kevin love is not a free agent i dont think the wolves care if kevin love wants to play with another supurstar or not

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      Love’s agents have told Flip Saunders that Kevin Love will NOT sign a contract extension past ’15 when he will exercise his early-opt-out clause of his current contract. That is the reason for all of this discussion. A team is not going to trade multiple draft picks and players for Love if he doesn’t want to play for that particular team. If he doesn’t want to play for them he is not going to sign an extension with the new team either.

      So yes, Flip will get the most in return by negotiating with a team Love wants to play for.

      • KlausFlouride

        I think that’s the obvious. Unfortunately, you still need to explain this to people. If the Suns really want Love, can they convince him that this is a destination for him? I think what the Suns have to offer at least puts them in the game.

        BTW, Earl, you may want to google my name and you may figure out who, from your past, you are talking to.

        • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

          John Paul Jones?

          • KlausFlouride

            That’s what you got from Klaus Flouride? Outside of the bass playing, how’d you come to that?

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            If you were the person I thought you were, you wouldn’t ask me that question. We (the person I thought you were) had a discussion about bass players that included John Paul Jones.

          • KlausFlouride

            Ahhh, I vaguely remember that (or am I just thinking that now because that’s been planted in my head). I didn’t create this new name to hide but I was simply tired of the other names used. I chose this name because I felt that some of the older cats may be able to link this with another name I used on another forum. But I admit, that would be a stretch and a bad assumption that people would care that much. I probably wouldn’t. Anyway, that’s why I was thrown by your JPJ answer; I was only looking at my reasoning. A flaw in my character!

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            I was respecting your privacy so I had to think of a way to answer you without giving you up. I did become suspicious though with you comment about relying on Hibbert for all things on Andrew Bynum.

            That has been your modus operandi with me for years and combined without seeing you here at our new home, well………

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            Luka look just like I imagined he would. Does that make me a psychic?

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            Did you realize it has been around eight years now? What was the name of Jey’s site again? Something about a clock, orange and purple? I forget. too bad he didn’t keep it up. He could have been like Michael Schwartz and sold it to Fansided!

            I wish “emonec” would post here. Must be busy making big money!

          • KlausFlouride

            A Clockwork Orange (and Purple). I emailed him a while ago and asked why he wasn’t doing his site anymore and he said because he couldn’t remember his password…or something like that.

            I actually connected with Rude on FB recently. I asked him if he came to Phx like he talked about and he said no. He said that things were not going too well and mentioned that if I was paying attention, I’d know why. I am thinking it has something to do with Jankovich and Bratušek, but I’m not positive.

            Anyway, being on the Central turned me into some kind of provocateur and I’m not inherently like that. I’m pretty mellow on BotS when I post. That’s who I will try to be on here although you could probably get me to slip every now and then. The name change is to signify an end to the past but not total separation.

            Klaus Fluoride – related to Dead Kennedy’s – which is related to Jello Biafra.

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            But I linked it to you, wasn’t that the point?

          • KlausFlouride

            Yes, yes it was. That’s really for all the others; whether they care or not. :)

          • KlausFlouride

            And look, we get “thumbs up & down” again!

        • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

          Now I feel a bit stupid and insensitive. I had no idea what was going on in Slovenia. Sorry Rude, hope things work out for you.

  • Luka

    If the Wolves ask for Bledsoe no deal.

  • Lloyd Cadle

    I hope that the Suns wouldn’t have to give up Bledsoe, but he may have to be a part of a deal to send him to a third team in order to ship a young stud PF to the Wolves (with the Suns getting Love in return).

    With Rubio on board the Wolves don’t need Bledsoe. The Suns would also have to include other players and picks in the deal to entice the Wolves.

    The Suns could then draft a good point guard, there are some good ones in this draft.

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      What would be the point of giving up Bledsoe to acquire Love? Love hasn’t given anyone any indication on whether he would be willing to come to Phoenix, but I’m sure shipping out Bledsoe is NOT going to help persuade him to come.

      So which team needs a PG so badly that they would be willing to give up a young stud PF to acquire Bledsoe? Which team that wants Bledsoe badly even has a young stud PF? Lets see, Boston can ship Jared Sullinger in a package directly to the Wolves for Love. The Bulls can ship Taj Gibson in their own package directly to the Wolves. The Rockets could ship Terrence Jones directly in their own package.

      Too bad the Suns don’t have a young stud PF similar to Taj Gibson and those others to offer in their own package and deal with the Wolves directly. Oh wait! The Suns have a guy who finished 4th in 6th man of the year and he is only 24! He also finished 10th for the Most Improved Player Award!

      Have you heard of Markieff Morris? Toss in his brother Marcus because the Wolves don’t have an All-Star at SF either. Then to make the salaries match, add Frye’s expiring contract so the Wolves could have a little salary cap flexibility next summer.

      So what else do the Suns have to sweeten the deal for Flip Saunders? Hmmmmm…they could return the Wolves 1st rd protected 1st through 12th pick in ’15 or ’16. How about the 14th and 18th picks this year? The Lakers 1st rd pick next year?

      Taking the totality of ALL the variables/assets that would be required to make Love, Phoenix and the Wolves happy, that is the best deal hands down. Chicago has the edge because Love has said he would like to play there. I doubt Flip sends him to G.S. without getting multiple picks in return. Boston can make a better offer than Phoenix but they wouldn’t be contenders and it is COLD in Boston.

      Somebody just needs to convince Kevin Love the Suns his best chance to make a deep playoff run. McD needs to sign Bledsoe, grab Dragic and Hornacek and go convince Love to come to Phoenix.

      This will be McDonough’s crowning moment, his legacy as a Suns G.M. placing him right next to Cotton Fitzsimmons!

      McDonough you will be immortalized as one of the BEST Suns execs of all-time if you pull this off! I can see that mischievous grin on Cotton’s face right now.

      I wonder what number Love is going to wear?

  • Lloyd Cadle

    Would Kevin Love want to play for the Suns? Who wouldn’t? A great basketball town. A contending team. A fantastic coach. And endless 70 degree, sunny weather during the basketball season.