This is Part Seventeen 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 Milwaukee Bucks are another near-impossible trade destination for Kevin Love.
It starts with their hideous cap situation/roster, and ends with the fact that Love would certainly not re-sign with the hard-luck Bucks. Sure, there are some intriguing pieces, namely Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nate Wolters, but it’s a pretty ugly looking bunch of players with an even worse slate of contracts.
Milwaukee owes O.J. Mayo and Ersan Ilyasova $16 million apiece and Zach Pachulia $10.4 millioan over the next two years. They signed Larry Sanders to a four-year, $44 million contract last summer, and he showed his gratitude by injuring himself in a bar fight. When he did play, he was not himself over the course of 23 games. If he can return to his 2012-13 form in short order, the contract looks okay. If not, yikes.
Again, we’ve run into a situation that is absolutely not conducive for moving Love, and especially not for the apparently ‘win now’-obsessed Flip Saunders. Here’s the best the Bucks could do:
Minnesota receives: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nate Wolters, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, #2 overall pick, 2016 first round pick
Milwaukee receives: Kevin Love
Delfino is the only truly known commodity of the potential return from the Bucks, as here are numerous question marks surrounding the rest of the players that would be heading west to Minneapolis in the deal. Antetokounmpo is one of the more intriguing players in the entire league, although he’s not exactly a good player yet.
Ilyasova had a great season two years ago, leading the Bucks to hand over a hefty contract. The Wolves wouldn’t actually want to take him in this deal, but if it came down to him or Mayo for a similar price, I’d take Ilyasova ten times out of ten. Here’s hoping Flip would feel the same way. (He wouldn’t.)
Wolters is a long, lanky point guard that many advanced statistical and projection models liked a great deal coming out of South Dakota State last summer. He also happens to be a native Minnesotan, which Saunders and Co. will love. He’d be a nice backup to Ricky Rubio once J.J. Barea is shipped elsewhere.
The Wolves would love to have the #2 pick in this draft, and they could stockpile for the future a bit more with another future draft pick. It ends up being an entirely rebuild-focused haul, which is allegedly what Saunders is desperately trying to avoid. Personally, I’d consider this deal ahead of the rumored Boston Celtics deal, if only because of the inclusion of Antetokounmpo and Wolters. Ilyasova is serviceable enough to eat the next couple years on his deal.
This trade simply won’t happen, and while there are a few reasons for that, the near-certainty that Love would not re-sign in Wisconsin has to be chief among them. Throw in Saunders staunch stance against rebuilding, and it’s an open and shut case and ultimately, an impossibility.