A legitimate favorite might have finally emerged in the ongoing trade sweepstakes for stranded superstar Kevin Love. The Golden State Warriors, a potential if unlikely landing spot for Love since the situation’s development, finally upped their ante on Thursday. According to reports, the Warriors have included highly regarded shooting guard Klay Thompson in their trade offer to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Golden State originally balked at Minnesota’s insistence that Thompson be part of a package for Love. However, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that the Warriors have finally relented.
The Golden State Warriors have greatly increased their chances of acquiring All-Star forward Kevin Love by making sharpshooting swingman Klay Thompson available to the Minnesota Timberwolves in trade talks, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that Golden State, after initially resisting Minnesota’s desire to land Thompson in a Love deal, has relented and is now willing to package Steph Curry’s trusted backcourt mate along with David Lee and a first-round pick in a trade for Love that could materialize quickly with the 2014 NBA draft looming Thursday.
Thompson’s father Mychal, himself a former No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft and now a radio analyst on Los Angeles Lakers broadcasts, said Thursday on ESPN LA 710 AM that the Warriors and Wolves are discussing a deal in which Golden State would also receive Kevin Martin from Minnesota in addition to Love.
The teams are still in the process of exchanging various trade proposals that would put other players into the deal, sources said. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that one scenario being discussed is the Wolves acquiring Thompson and Lee for Love, Martin, J.J. Barea and Minnesota’s 13th pick.
Thompson is likely the best player that the Timberwolves could receive from any team interested in acquiring Love. Though known best for his elite long-range marksmanship, Thompson is a developing scorer in the post and off-the-dribble and has quickly become one of the most underrated perimeter defenders in the NBA. ‘Three-and-D’ types are so, so valuable in the modern NBA, and Thompson is the rare example that offers offensive versatility, too.
Though Golden State is clearly hesitant to part with Thompson, doing so now makes sense. Thompson is in line to sign a mammoth contract after the 2014-2015 season; some have even suggested that he’ll ask for a max-level extension. The lack of quality shooting guards in the NBA will surely add superficial value to Thompson’s next deal, and the Warriors are capped out going forward as it is. Swapping him for Love now ensures that Golden State will get proper bang for its buck, as the latter is certainly worth the expensive price tag his next contract will command. That Lee, a talented offensive player but salary albatross, would go to Minnesota in the proposed deal only makes this more palatable for the Warriors.
Minnesota is in an unenviable position regardless. The prudent approach for the Wolves would be to tear down their roster and re-build around Ricky Rubio and the assets they’d receive in return for Love – ideally a young star and multiple first round picks. But that trade package likely doesn’t exist, and ‘settling’ for quality players like Thompson and Lee (plus a late first-rounder) will placate Flip Saunders, a veteran coach that seems ill-equipped to helm a surefire lottery team in his first season back on the sidelines.
Of course, if ousted General Manager David Khan had signed Love to a five-year extension back in 2012 this would all be moot. These are the perils of laughable front office decisions; let’s hope Minnesota is done making them going forward. Time will tell.
How would Love look in a Golden State uniform?
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