Most NBA fans took a long sigh of relief when they found out that LeBron James was returning to Cleveland. And who can blame them? These fragile folk were suffering in basketball purgatory for what seemed like an eternity (okay, it was only ten days). Faces were glued to ESPN, fingers were raw from hitting the refresh button, eyes were bloodshot from staring at their mobile apparatuses.
For most NBA fans, sweet relief finally came last Friday. LeBron decided, again, and shortly thereafter Twitter exploded. For the most part, the world was happy that The King was coming home.
And then it was over. Just like that NBA junkies went back to their families, their jobs, and their less important hobbies. Most NBA fans had a good night sleep the night on July 11th.
But not us. For Minnesota Timberwolves fans, there was just so much to stay up and think about. How will LeBron’s decision affected the Kevin Love trade market? Does this mean we have a shot at Wiggins? Will we ever be good at basketball?
By the next morning I thought I had it all figured out: We’d give up Love, allowing a new Big Three to form in Cleveland (along with LeBron and Irving), and in return Cleveland would ship us their Canadian Imports in Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, and Anthony Bennett. A win-win for two cities who know too much about losing.
But Dan Gilbert and David Griffin apparently had other ideas, because that’s not what went down. ESPN reported that Cleveland offered Bennett, Dion Waiters, and a future first-round pick for Love.
Are you kidding me? Seriously, you’re joking, right?
Cleveland wasn’t joking around. ESPN reported that Cleveland has no intention to include Wiggins in any deal with Love.
Sound familiar? Well it should, because Golden State has taken the same stance with Klay Thompson. Yes, the AP reported that the Wolves and Warriors have resumed trade talk, but Golden State still refuses to part with their prized marksman.
So where does that leave us? Some call it a stalemate; my politically correct friends call it an American Standoff; I just think it’s irritating. For me, it means more restless nights thinking about a game that I don’t even play that well. We’re stuck, left to wonder what is truly going on inside the mind of Flip Saunders. (I’m actually working on a script called Being Flip Saunders, which will hopefully star John Malkovich in the title role.)
So what is Flip thinking? While we can’t actually know the inner workings of Flip’s brain, we do know that he appears to be staying strong, holding firm in his demand for either Wiggins or Thompson in any Love trade. Personally, I like the approach and hope that he sticks with it.
Let us not forget what happened last time Minnesota shipped off a super star for parts and pieces: Boston won a championship, and Minnesota spiraled further downward into the pit of irrelevancy that exists within the landscape of the NBA.
Do we really want to do that again? To me, Bennett is one fast-food addiction away from becoming Oliver Miller 2.0, and Dion Waiters is a locker room fight away from becoming a career journeyman. He could be Ronald “Flip” Murray for all we know. Same goes for David Lee and Harrison Barnes (The Warriors’ offer for Love). Who’s to say they’ll even be in the league three years from now? Better odds they’ll end up as nothing more than dust in the NBA wind; floating pieces that travel far and wide before landing in their inevitable homes in the NBA’s gated retirement community. (Wouldn’t it be sweet if NBA retirees met every Tuesday morning to play shuffle board?)
I say we keep Kevin Love and risk losing him for nothing instead of sending him away for role players. At this point, it’s more a matter of pride than of logic. I’d rather lose a guy who doesn’t want to be a part of our Wolf Pack then make an embarrassing trade that will allow Bill Simmons to publicly ridicule us for from now until eternity.
And if we lose Kevin, then so be it.
No Love lost.
Finally, to the fans of Cleveland and Golden State I say, “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too!”
That’s just me. But I’m a little bit nutty.
What do you think? Should Saunders hold out for a better trade and risk losing Love next off-season, or should he trade him for the best available offer?