This is Part Eight 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.
The Denver Nuggets are an intriguing possibility as a landing spot for Kevin Love, despite the absence of chatter surrounding what they could offer.
From the Nuggest perspective, they’d have an opportunity to pair Love with Ty Lawson. There isn’t a ton else there, of course, unless JaVale McGee can be salvaged, but Denver could surely make a run at the playoffs with Lawson, and Love leading the way, and Wilson Chandler and the other rotation players currently on the roster (Timofey Mozgov, J.J. Hickson, etc.).
It’d be a hefty price to pay in exchange for one year of Love, but again, that isn’t the Wolves concern. Here’s what they’d ask for:
Denver receives: Kevin Love, Corey Brewer, future first round pick
If Love re-signed in Denver, this is pretty fair value. If he didn’t, well, the Nuggets would have gotten fleeced. The key to the deal is obviously whether or not Gallinari can make a full recovery from the knee injury that wiped out his entire 2013-14 season. A 6′ 10″ wing player with legitimate three-point range is a perfect fit with Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic.
Kenneth Faried would slot right into the starting lineup and pick up the rebounding slack left behind by Love’s departure. Foye would play the third guard role after J.J. Barea is dealt away in a separate deal, and Fournier would be the developmental fifth guard/third point guard. He’s got a lot of potential as a combo guard in the NBA, but struggled with an increase in minutes in his second season in the league at the age of 21.
A starting lineup of Rubio/Martin/Gallinari/Faried/Pekovic with a bench rotation that includes Foye/Budinger/Mbah a Moute/Dieng/Turiaf would be a ton of fun, and really shouldn’t incur that much of a drop-off from last year’s squad, especially factoring in improvement from Rubio, Dieng, Budinger, etc.
Gallinari is still just 25 years old, and was on the cusp of stardom prior to his devastating injury. Rubio could very well develop into a star as well, and between Martin, Gallinari, and Pekovic, there’s plenty of scoring.
Again, it’s a bit much for Denver to give up, and it’s likely that they’d offer a similar trade without including both Gallinari and Faried. In that case, the Wolves’ front office would likely pause for more than a couple of beats. Personally, if I could acquire Gallinari (despite the yearlong layoff), I’d do it without hesitation. If Gallinari, Fournier, and the #11 pick in this year’s draft were all on the table, it’s absolutely a move I’d consider if I were Flip Saunders.
Unfortunately, Denver has not been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Love. Alas, we’re left hoping the Nuggets happen to be one of the mystery teams being referenced in the media.