Everything that happens in the next couple weeks on the Kevin Love trade front is window dressing, posturing, and the occasional smoke screen. Everyone is positioning themselves right now (even Love on his travels), talks are incredibly preliminary. Things get serious the week of the draft. Just remember that as we catch you up on the latest posturing below.
Timberwolves’ president Flip Saunders came out recently and said he expects Kevin Love to be with the Timberwolves next season. Which echoes what their owner had said previously.
Of course they say that publicly, what else are they going to say? And of course they don’t want to trade their franchise player.
However, privately they are prepping for a trade that could come as soon as draft day, reports Sean Deveney at The Sporting News.
Publicly, the Timberwolves are saying they expect Love to be in training camp with the team next fall. But behind the scenes, as one source put it, the Timberwolves are, “paving the way to make something happen sooner rather than later.” Sooner, of course, would be draft night.
The Timberwolves have put out feelers on what possible offers might be on the table for Love on draft night. Despite their public protestations, around the league, front office executives say that the market for Love is open, but the initial asking price is high. While the Timberwolves would expect lottery draft choices in return for Love—including a high pick in this draft—they also want a young player with star potential, according to a source.
This is trading 101: Even if you’re going to move someone you can’t seem eager, you need to seem willing to walk away from the table to make sure you get the most out of the deal. Just like any negotiation the person most willing to walk away from the table does best. Minnesota needs to seem ambivalent while letting teams know they are willing to deal.
Minnesota needs to make a deal between now and the end of next February, it doesn’t need to seem eager to do it now. Make teams try to blow your doors off.
Love has some say in this process — he can opt out after next season from any team that trades for him. No team wants to rent him, they will want him to at least opt in, and that gives Love some leverage on who gets invited to dance (although Sacramento wants to crash the party anyway).
Love has his preferences, something Ric Bucher talked about at Bleacher Report.
“Sources close to the situation tell me that Love if it’s a choice between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, would chose the Warriors.”
Love and Stephen Curry would instantly make the most dangerous pick-and-pop combo in the league.
But are the Warriors willing to go all in with some quality players?
-- Kurt Helin, NBC's Pro Basketball Talk