5 trade options for the Minnesota Timberwolves if they lose their pick

Jerami Grant of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Jerami Grant of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Kevin Love
Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Timberwolves acquire Kevin Love from the Cleveland Cavaliers

I saved this one for last for a reason.

The Cavs have $94.39 million in player salary on the books for the 2021-22 season with a Jarrett Allen contract extension looming. Kevin Love is set to make $31.3 million in the 2021-22 season and $28.8 million in 2022-23. Love made it clear that he was disgruntled this season and is in need of a change of scenery, while the Cavaliers finished 22-50 and are looking for more young talent to surround Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Isaac Okoro, and Allen.

The Timberwolves would send Hernangomez, Culver, and Rubio to make the contracts work. The Cavaliers could bring in a third team for Rubio or choose to keep him and his expiring contract around for veteran leadership for their two young guards. Rubio struggled at the beginning of the season, but really stepped it up at the end when the Timberwolves chemistry clicked, keeping the intrigue to add him.

Adding a young veteran stretch-4 in Hernangomez would help clear the paint for Cleveland’s quick slashing guards. Culver is still young enough to pan out, and the Cavaliers can add a player around the same age as their new core.

As for the Timberwolves, they would reunite with Kevin Love, adding a star and keeping that stretch aspect at the 4. The Wolves would also add more rebounding, playoff experience, and veteran leadership.

Minnesota allowed 55 rebounds per game this year, ranking 27th in the league. Love played in just 25 games this season, so his old legs should be fresh. This trade might be a year or two late with Love on the backside of his career, but perhaps the move back home would bring a resurgence to Love. (Not to mention, Love hasn’t done knuckle push-ups in years. He’s a changed man.)

The Cavaliers would be sending $31.3 million in salary to the Timberwolves while the Wolves would send $31.2 million back. In the 2022-23 season, the Timberwolves would now have $126.28 million on the books, with extensions to Okogie and Layman awaiting if they choose to bring them back. Love’s contract would clear before needing to extend Russell, Reid, and Nowell.

As for the Cavaliers, they would be around $94.2 million for 2021-22, and $54.59 in 2022-23, although both of those numbers are without a pending Allen extension. Cleveland would have enough to extend Allen in 2021-22, and then extend Sexton in 2022-23.

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It’s fair to assume that Gersson Rosas and the Minnesota Timberwolves front office will remain active into this offseason. Anything could happen, and it wouldn’t be a shock for a trade of some significance to go down. Buckle up.