This is Part Ten 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 Golden State Warriors are one of the three or four teams whose name has been bandied about the most regarding the possibility of trading for Kevin Love.
It’s kind of tough to understand why, although it seems to be a combination of a) people thought Golden State should have been better in 2013-14 than they actually were, b) for whatever reason, folks seem to think that Love and David Lee are similar players, c) a surprising number of people actually think that Harrison Barnes is good at basketball and Klay Thompson is great, and d) the Bay Area fits the “large market” criteria that has been invented for Love to re-sign with his new squad.
Let’s respond to those supposed thoughts, since I’m pretty opinionated on the concept. First of all, Golden State was exactly what fans should have expected. They overachieved in reaching the second round after the 2012-13 season, and they don’t have any stars beyond Stephen Curry.
Secondly, David Lee is vastly, vastly inferior to Kevin Love, and he is grossly overpaid. Yes, he’s good, but not $15+ million per year good. And he’s simply nowhere near Love’s level.
Barnes is the opposite of good at his profession; in fact, he’s been pretty awful thus far. Yes, he’s young, and yes, he should improve. But no, it should not be in Minnesota. There’s nothing in his NBA career thus far that suggests he’ll turn into more than a volume-scoring bench player.
Thompson is a good player, no doubt. He took strides in the proper direction last year, and he still could turn into a star. He is not a star yet, but he’d be a nice piece on a Ricky Rubio-led team, and the Wolves should require that he is part of any trade offer.
And lastly, yes, Love would likely re-sign an extension in Golden State alongside Curry. That’s about the surest thing there is in the whole conversation.
So what would/could/should Golden State offer, and what should Flip Saunders and the Wolves require? Here’s what I’d ask for:
Minnesota: Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, David Lee, 2015 first round pick
Golden State: Kevin Love, Kevin Martin
Draymond Green is the secondary key to this trade. He would immediately be part of the top seven or eight players in the Wolves’ rotation, and after playing very well in his second year in the league for the Warriors, there is a lot of hope that he’ll develop into a well-above average starter at the ’4′.
Thompson has improved in both his second and third year in the NBA, which is easily the most encouraging thing to pair with his 6′ 7″ size and 40%+ outside shooting stroke. He’s starting to create a bit off the dribble, although his assist and free throw rates remain alarmingly low.
The biggest red flag is his inability to get to the free throw line (2.3 attempts per game). Thompson needs to add the ability to slash to the basket and draw fouls if he’s going to ever be more than a long range threat. Of course, the idea of the Wolves having a 40%+ outside shooter next to Rubio and Nikola Pekovic is absolutely scintillating.
David Lee would start at power forward for the Wolves in 2014-15, and is still a productive player going into his age-31 season. The tough thing is that he isn’t even all that much better than Green, and he’d be eating up valuable minutes in 2014-15 before the Wolves would try and move his expiring contract next summer or during the 2015-16 season.
The Wolves should only take on Lee’s contract if Golden State takes Kevin Martin’s. If that happens and the Wolves can get both Thompson and Green, a trade with the Warriors would be palatable.
Otherwise, it gets dicey very quickly. Barnes and Lee, plus a pick or two, would be an absolute disaster. Unfortunately, the information seeping out of Target Center and from around the league says that Thompson is off the table, and Saunders seems to fine with taking on Lee.
In summary, a Golden State trade could be pretty decent, depending on the inclusion of Thompson and Green, and if Lee comes to Minnesota, the Wolves need to move out some bad money as well. But I’m not counting on those contingencies, and therefore, I’m extremely nervous about any trade with the Warriors.