This is Part Seven in a 29-part series that will tour every team in the league with the purpose of exploring any and all trade combinations that would involve Kevin Love being shipped out of Minnesota. Trades are meant to be realistic regarding Love’s trade value and may include three-team trade possibilities. All 29 teams will be examined prior to the June 28 NBA Draft.
This is going to be another tough one. Along with the Brooklyn Nets, these are the only near-impossible trade scenarios we’ve come across thus far in this alphabetical journey through the NBA.
Dirk Nowitzki enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in 2013-14 after injury issues hobbled him and sapped the productivity, not to mention the games played, out of the 2012-13 season. He’s technically an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the soon-to-be 36 year-old has already stated that he’s returning to Dallas. (And now, he’s on the record as wanting to play with Carmelo Anthony, who will be opting out of his contract in New York. That’s not happening.)
How would Love fit in Dallas? He’s a decent pairing with a high-usage guard like Monta Ellis, but with the obvious similarities in Love and Nowitzki’s respective playing styles, a pairing certainly isn’t ideal. The only way that Dallas becomes a realistic destination for Love is if they do the unthinkable and renounce the rights to Dirk, allowing them to build around Love. (Of course, this flies in the face of what Love is looking to do, but again, he can’t choose where Minnesota ultimately deals him.)
The Mavs’ roster isn’t exactly teeming with young talent that Flip Saunders should be itching to add to his team, but we can piece something together.
Dallas receives: Kevin Love, J.J. Barea
Yes, this trade reeks a little bit like the Kevin Garnett-to-Boston trade, only without the promising young big man (Al Jefferson). It’s a bunch of pieces, some old, some young, that could maybe, possibly turn into something of value. But it certainly isn’t obvious talent. Which is, coincidentally, the worst kind of ‘talent’.
Calderon is a very nice third guard that has been miscast for much of his career, both as a starting point guard and a starting shooting guard. In Minnesota, since we’re working on playing as many no-defense wings as possible, he’s a nice fit off the bench behind both Kevin Martin and Ricky Rubio, and can play alongside his Spansh countryman in some lineups as well. Chase Budinger and Corey Brewer would remain the primary options at the small forward position.
Wright is a fantastic situational/fourth big man that has never quite received enough minutes in his career. He’s always extremely effective and a favorite of advanced statistics, and would thrive in what was formerly the Dante Cunningham role off the bench.
Ellington is mostly a throw-in to make salaries work, but has actually
reinvented himself as a useful role player after exiting Minnesota and being used as he should be: a shooter off the bench, and nothing more. Larkin and Crowder are entering their second and third professional seasons, respectively, and hold a fair amount of potential. Larkin is undersized and isn’t a great, shooter, but he’d be the last guard off the bench for the Wolves. And Crowder is a decent bench piece that would be a valuable player if he can boost his long-range shooting from his 32.9% career mark and into the mid-to-upper thirties.
The Mavs would get Barea back, because sentimental and stuff. And they’ll need a new combo guard to fill in after Calderon’s departure.
The Wolves can absolutely do better than the proposed trade above. And they could do much worse. But that’s not the point of this exercise. In a Minnesota-Dallas deal, the Wolves can’t win. But the above trade, combined with a starting-caliber power forward acquisition over the summer would at least be tolerable.
Again, Love would find himself in an obviously worse situation in Dallas as he currently has in Minneapolis, but hey, Mark Cuban’s a cocky guy. Maybe he can re-sign him next summer….