This is Part Nine 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 Detroit Pistons screwed up the summer of 2013. Royally.
They started the 2014 off-season in much better fashion, convincing the excellent Stan Van Gundy to sign on for full control of the franchise, both in the front office and as the head coach.
Let’s first get this out of the way: SVG is not trading for a non-extended Kevin Love. He’s been through the whole thing with Dwight Howard in Orlando, and it was miserable. He ain’t touching that mess again.
And secondly, Andre Drummond was a major reason why Van Gundy wanted to work in Detroit. So he’s off the table in these discussions, as far as I’m concerned, and especially at the pennies-on-the-dollar, value contract he’s currently playing out.
Therefore, any discussions with the Pistons starts and ends with a sign-and-trade for Greg Monroe. Yes, his skill set is redundant enough with Nikola Pekovic that it is anything but a perfect fit, but it’s the only talent that is worth Flip Saunders’ time in discussions with the Pistons (outside of Drummond, that is). And no, Josh Smith isn’t good. Plus throw in the $40.5 million that he’s owed over the next three years, and…yikes. No thank you.
The Wolves would want Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who they would have selected with the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft had the Pistons not nabbed him at #8, sending Saunders and Co. into a frenzy that ultimately triggered the move down in the first round that sent Shabazz Muhammad and Gorgui Dieng to Minnesota.
Let’s also point out that the parameters of a sign-and-trade with Detroit are eminently tricky, as Monroe would have to agree to come to Minneapolis, and the Wolves would have to overpay him. And not necessarily because they’d have to overpay him to get him to play in Minnesota, but because he’s currently overvalued by much of the league compared to the actual on-court production that he provides. That said, this would still be worth considering from the Wolves’ perspective.
Detroit receives: Kevin Love (Likely, another piece would head to Detroit to match the new Monroe contract.)
Keep in mind that, as noted above, Monroe’s contract would have to be matched up with another player or two heading from Minnesota to Detroit. And as long as that player wasn’t named Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic, or Gorgui Dieng, I think the Wolves would pony up.
The Wolves would maintain their bruising front line with Monroe and Pekovic, although Rubio wouldn’t exactly have a fleet of athletes running the floor. (Yes, Drummond would be a near-perfect fit. It’s not happening. Even less so than the Monroe trade.) Jerebko shot 41.9% from three-point range last year, although he’s still only at a 32.8% mark for his career. He’s also been extremely injury prone, and is already 27 years old. At worst, he’s a bench player and a $4.5 million expiring contract.
Caldwell-Pope was ultimately not very good as a rookie, but he was given very uneven playing time in the Motor City. Despite starting 41 games, he ended up averaging less than 20 minutes per game over the course of 80 contests. He also shot just 31.9% from long range, which is pretty terrible for a supposed sniper. Regardless, he’s still a 6′ 5″ shooting guard that Flip and Co. were infatuated with just a year ago, and he’d absolutely be a part of this trade.
In summary, a trade with Detroit is not happening. Throw in the near-max contract that the Wolves would need to throw at Monroe, and it’s a tough sell. Yes, a Monroe-Pekovic-Dieng front court rotation would be terrifying, and easily the best in the entire NBA, but the lack of defense on the wings (and possibly spotty jump-shooting) would be the ultimate downfall of the squad.