Apr 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) controls a rebound against Golden State Warriors forward David Lee (10) with center Gorgui Dieng (5) during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 130-120. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Love to Golden State? Keep dreaming, Warriors fans

Let me be inescapably clear, right off the bat: there is not any hint of a credible rumor that the Wolves (or even the Warriors, for that matter) have explored or will explore a Kevin Love trade.

The following is a response to the Roster Reload: Golden State Warriors Insider piece on ESPN.com by the generally outstanding Bradford Doolittle and Amin Elhassan. The piece more or less centers on the idea that the Warriors would be able to land Kevin Love if they so choose, given their collection of young talent available to trade away, and that Golden State would potentially be a market and organization that Love would consider re-signing with in the summer of 2015.

It also surmises that Love would be a great fit with the Warriors current roster structure, regardless of whether head coach Mark Jackson is retained, which seems unlikely at this juncture. Love’s fit with the Golden State offensive scheme is pretty close to perfect, especially given the recent improvement and development of his low post game.

The proposed deal by Doolitte and Elhassan is centered around Harrison Barnes and David Lee as the Wolves’ return, with Alexey Shved‘s remaining $3+ million coming with Love to the Bay Area.

On it’s face and to the casual fan, this seems to be a trade that makes sense for both organizations. A superstar stretch four that is likely leaving his current team in the near future in exchange for a star stretch four and a dead-eye, long range perimeter shooter with the size that the Wolves have lacked for years.

Here’s the counter, from the Wolves perspective. This year’s Wolves team finished with a 40-42 record. Kevin Love is, indisputably, a top-six NBA player. This shows us that a) there were lengthy injuries to the squad, and b) there were some serious shortcomings on the roster this season.

The injuries weren’t actually that bad this season, especially when compared to recent Wolves history, and compared to other teams that managed to overcome them this season: Memphis, Oklahoma City, the Clippers, etc.

So that leaves the supporting cast. Would the drop-off from Love to Lee be masked, much less exceeded, by the production of Harrison Barnes? The answer is a firm, steadfast, and resounding ‘no’.

Love’s superiority to Lee is vast enough that Barnes’ fringe-y all-around game wouldn’t move the needle back to the .500 mark, much less past that. Unless, of course, the Wolves are confident that Nikola Pekovic, Ricky Rubio, or even Gorgui Dieng can make gigantic leaps from their current state into legitimate star status.

For Rubio, certainly, that’s still in play. And who knows with Dieng, but he won’t be a superstar in 2014-15. But swapping Love for Lee and Barnes would be a clear detriment to the Wolves current state as well as their immediate future. Throw in the fact that Barnes would be finishing up his rookie deal at the end of the 2015-16 season, and next summer is when Rubio is in the same boat with his contract. It doesn’t make the money all that much easier, especially for Barnes’ lukewarm production.

Yes, we’ve only begun to hear the trade rumors. Despite Flip Saunders’ constant insistence that Love will not be traded, the rumblings are already starting to come fast and furious. To be sure, the Wolves would be hard-pressed to get anything near true value for Love in any trade during the off-season or the 2014-15 season.

Tags: David Lee Harrison Barnes Kevin Love Minnesota Timberwolves NBA

  • HarveyMilkSmokedDicks

    Saunders can say all he wants…Love is going to want out unless the Wolves totally revamp the roster and improve their record (the first is doubtful since good free agents don’t want to go freakin Minnesota, and the second is possible but also doubtful considering how competitive the West is). The issue with the Wolves wasn’t only injury related…the team was one of the worst defensive teams in the league last year (27th in opponent FG%).

  • Maurio Easley

    Fair trade? Yeah right! I agree that K Loves needs to be traded to highest bidder of course. I know T – Wolves can do better than Harrison Barns. Any deals involving Golden State must include Klay maybe Harrison Barns and draft picks, Lee and take back the Russian dude contract.

  • http://www.basesandbaskets.com/ Elijah

    Lmao KLove is gone, like it or not Mr. Know-It-All-Twolves-fan. As I have written many times, if this is the best offer, the Twolves need to take it.

    Only the casual fan would miss out on the fact that something is better than nothing. Unless we’re the Lakers FO and don’t mind watching Dwight leave for zip.

  • Joey Callahan

    Which one of Harrison Barnes’ eyes is dead? FG% .399, 3PT% .347 in 2013-14.

  • Justin1978

    Even if it was Klay Thompson instead of Barnes the Wolves should say no. David Lee has a horrible contract. They would be better off asking for Draymon Green. Harrison Barnes is so overrated it’s getting ridiculous. He did not improve at all from rookie to sophomore season. His shooting stats are barely better than Ricky Rubio’s.