This is Part Twelve 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 Indiana Pacers are one of a handful of teams that really are not a realistic option for a Kevin Love trade. Alas, the letter ‘I’ is still part of the alphabet, so let’s give it a shot.
On the one hand, the Pacers went from potentially the best team in the NBA during the fall and winter months to an absolute mess down the stretch and for portions of the playoffs, too. So changes could be warranted, and it would not take much to justify shaking things up in Indianapolis.
The tough thing is that the Pacers have somewhere around zero trade assets. Paul George is not going anywhere, and Roy Hibbert simply does not fit the Wolves, and especially with his maximum contract. Which leaves George Hill (expensive and not a fit with the Wolves’ roster), Luis Scola (ick), Chris Copeland (no), C.J. Watson (…), and Solomon Hill (why?). Oh, and David West.
Ultimately, West is the only player that would be a decent fit in a Love-to-Pacers swap, unless they suddenly sour on PG24 (not happening). Don’t forget that West is heading into his age-34 season and costs $12 million next year. Plus, he can opt out next summer, just like Love. But at least the Wolves could bridge the gap with a legitimately productive player at the power forward spot, and they’d still get their cap space in the summer of 2015.
So, here’s what we’re left with. Admittedly, it isn’t all that appealing.
Minnesota receives: David West, George Hill, 2015 first round pick
Indiana receives: Kevin Love, J.J. Barea
Honestly, the Pacers may not do this, given that they’d be in a tough position to re-sign Love next summer, unless they can sell him on hitching his wagon to George for the prime seasons of his career.
Then again, the Wolves would not do this trade without the Barea-for-Hill aspect, either. And that would likely be the sticking point for both teams. The Pacers could save some money long-term by moving Hill off their books, but with Lance Stephenson hitting free agency, they’d essentially be without a point guard moving forward. And Hill is no slouch.
There simply is not a trade to be made between Indiana and Minnesota, and I’m not sure that there’s another way of looking at the situation. But we gave it a shot, and if the Wolves could get Hill + West + a first round pick out of the situation, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.