After pouring his heart out to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Kevin Love is seen to be openly inviting the speculation of his future. Woj’s Yahoo! Sports colleague, Marc J. Spears felt the controversy merited throwing him on his top trade targets list.
Kevin Love: Minnesota Timberwolves, 24, PF
Contract status: In first year of a four-year, $60 million contract. Can opt out after the 2014-15 season.
Buzz: In an interview with Yahoo! Sports NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski, Love recently questioned the direction of the franchise under owner Glen Taylor and general manager David Kahn. Love isn’t happy about not getting a five-year maximum contract, and some teams might try to explore acquiring him from Minnesota.
“I don’t think that’s a match that is permanent in Minnesota,” a rival assistant GM said. “I’m not saying they’re shopping, but if they can get the right deal they would look at it. And I don’t think he wants to be there.”
This is a bit of a laugher — a rival assistant GM doesn’t think it’s a permanent match? Sounds a lot like, “You’re not gonna eat that, are you?” Wonder if it’s a Portland assistant GM… moving on to more moveable targets…
Anderson Varejao: Cleveland Cavaliers, 30, PF-C
Contract status: Has $27.1 million remaining over final three years of contract. Due 5 percent bonus if traded.
Buzz: Varejao is having an All-Star season, averaging 14.3 points and 14.8 rebounds through 22 games. Cleveland, however, has one of the NBA’s worst records so teams will at least ask about the availability of Varejao, whose stock is rising by the day.
“He is a target for trade, but I don’t think Cleveland wants to trade him,” one GM said. “There is a distinction between players teams might want to move and players teams want to have.”
Varejao is a holdover from the LeBron era, the old guy on a young team. He is in the classic gets traded to a contender for young prospect situation. Which brings us to…
Derrick Williams: Minnesota Timberwolves, 21, F
Contract status: Making $4.8 million in second year of rookie deal.
Buzz: Williams has had a disappointing career in Minnesota after being selected second overall in the 2011 draft. The highest draft choice in franchise history has been earning DNP-CDs or short-minute stints under coach Rick Adelman. Both sides would be happy with a move.
“They will move him in a heartbeat if they could,” one rival team executive said. “I don’t think the coaches are that high on him. You have to get something for him now because the longer he sits, the more people think he can’t play.”
A few more games with Ricky Rubio will make Williams very moveable. Dr. Wolfenstein at Canis Hoopus made an excellent case for a mutually beneficial Williams-Varejao swap, wherein Ridnour, Steamer and Williams would go to Cleveland for Varejao and Casspi. The thinking for the Cavs: they would get a David West-type to play with their CP3-type (Kyrie Irving). The biggest hurdle with this thought process? Derrick Williams is nowhere near as tough or smart as West, but a youngster to pair with Tristan Thompson up front might be in the Cavs interest. Certainly, gaining another super-active big like Varejao without giving up Pek would be nice for the Wolves, but I have to believe a shooter, and Omri Casspi isn’t thinking big enough, would be higher on their priority list.