The Kevin Love sweepstakes are shaking out to be a two-horse race. On one side, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and a new coach with no NBA experience. On the other, San Francisco, Steph Curry, and a different new coach with literally zero coaching experience, period. One horse takes Love to an ideal location where he can share the spotlight, the other takes him to the NBA Finals and basketball immortality.
Any trade would be contingent on Love signing a new contract, so he ultimately has discretion over which deal gets done. (Basically, no one would trade the assets currently on the table unless Love agreed to ink a long-term deal with them, first.)
According to Basketball Insiders, the Golden State deal would include three immediate impact players: Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, and David Lee. If you’re the T-Wolves, you’ve got to be favoring this deal seeing as you immediately become a competitive team again. A starting lineup of Rubio, Kevin Martin, Klay Thompson, David Lee, and Nikola Pekovic would almost certainly be a lock for the eight spot in the Western Conference.
On the other side of the deal, Love would be on a two star team with a cast built exclusively for shooting, rebounding, and getting it back to one of those two guys to repeat that pattern. Not a terrible plan — but it’s not exactly a championship formula. Between Love and Curry, you could expect 50-60 ppg — which asks very little of the remaining squad. Is Andre Iguodala capable of being a viable third option?
Here’s what that starting lineup would look like: Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love, and Andrew Bogut. Outside of those five, this team has very little talent (because most of it will be playing in Minnesota). Remember when the Knicks traded the farm for Carmelo mid-season? Ya, that worked out well…
The elephant in the room, however, is LeBron James’ push to get Love to agree to come help him bring Cleveland a title. Undeniably a better team than the Warriors squad sans Lee, Thompson, and Barnes — the starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, (veteran shooting guard Mike Miller/Ray Allen), LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Anderson Varejao would immediately become the best team in the East.
Can Love turn down Bron’s offer?
LeBron James has reached to tell Kevin Love of his desire for them to play together with the Cavaliers, front office sources tell Yahoo.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 17, 2014
The downside to the deal for Love, who clearly wants to get the hell out of a flyover state, is playing/living in Cleveland (sorry Ohioans) and getting absolutely 0% of the spotlight thanks to a basketball player who demands all the attention. For the Timberwolves, the trade to send Love to the Cavs would be a rebuilding project that — and this is always a possibility — could result in absolute disaster three years from now, if the meaningful assets they acquire decide to bolt for greener/warmer pastures.
Like, somewhere cool. Somewhere without literal pastures.
Here’s how Minnesota’s starting five would look in this scenario: Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, and Nikola Pekovic. They’d also have Cleveland’s top pick for the 2015 draft. Not a terrible deal, either, especially when you consider that Wiggins has more upside than David Lee, Klay Thompson, or Harrison Barnes, and he’s only one person you’d have to convince to stay once his deal is up. He’s also way, way cheaper.
So what do you think? Who makes out the best in these hypothetical trade scenarios? Vote below: