The NBA is turning into a, “What have you done for me lately?” kind of league. Looking at the Minnesota Timberwolves, they haven’t done much for Kevin Love. The team is 3 games under .500 and six games behind the 8th playoff spot. There is growing tension whether Kevin Love will re-sign with the team following the 2015 season when he can opt out. His value isn’t at its highest right now, but the league knows what he is capable of doing. The question becomes, should the Timberwolves trade their franchise player?
Let’s say the Timberwolves hypothetically make a run in the 2nd half of the season and make the playoffs. Not many people would see them getting past the Thunder, Spurs, or Trail Blazers, who are expected to be 3 of the top seeds. Yes, it would generate more revenue for the team; and it would show Love that the team is improving. Would a 1st round loss really show Love that this organization is committed to winning? After that 1st round loss, they would be out of the lottery drawing and will be stuck with a mid-range pick and a player not the caliber that can take a franchise to the next level. Here are the NBA Lines of the Minnesota Timberwolves throughout the season, as you can see, they’re not too confident in the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Another option would be to trade Love. Before all you Wolves fans cause an uproar, let me remind you of the Nets-Jazz trade that sent Deron Williams to the Nets in exchange for Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and two 1st round picks. Williams was in the conversation as one of the top point guards in the league at the time. However, Utah didn’t have the money to pay Deron so they decided to bank on the future drafts. Since then, he is battling ankle injuries and hasn’t performed to the level the Nets anticipated. Derrick Favors, in return, is averaging close to a double-double and is anchoring the front court for the Jazz. Those 1st round picks the Jazz received turned out to be Alec Burks, a nice scoring option off the bench, and what ultimately turned out to be Trey Burke, their talented young point guard.The Jazz are on the better end of this deal, by far.
The next question becomes, who do the Timberwolves swing a deal with? Love has been rumored to be going to the Lakers. The only scenario I can see happening is trading Pau Gasol and a 2014 1st round pick for Love. The Timberwolves acquire an expiring contract and lottery pick from the Lakers. From there, they can start building around Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic. The other team in the Staples Center has made it known that they can swing a blockbuster deal or two. Blake Griffin was involved in trade rumors with Carmelo Anthony, how about Love for Griffin? The Timberwolves acquire a dominant power forward that is signed through the 2017 season and no opt-out clauses. You cannot rule out the Suns as a destination due to their plethora of 1st round picks.
It would be ideal for the Timberwolves to trade Love this season. The draft is going to be loaded with budding stars that can turn their franchise around. Going back to the Deron Williams trade, who knows if Kevin Love will be healthy in the coming years? It’s not a matter of the team not being able to sign him to a max deal; he doesn’t want one from the Timberwolves. Capitalize on your assets and build for the future.