Kevin Love trade rumors take off again

Kevin Love trade rumors take off again
June 20, 2014, 6:15 am
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When it comes to on-the-rise wing guards with knockdown shooting touch, Bradley Beal and Klay Thompson top the list. Charles Barkley's list, anyway. So when rumors swirl around NBA circles that the Golden State Warriors could part with Thompson for Kevin Love, it naturally leads one to wonder if the Wizards should ponder the same with Beal.

Last month our Wizards Insider J. Michael wrote about the Warriors interest in Love, an Olympian and double-double machine who has yet to play in the postseason during six seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The take: Golden State must include the 24-year-old Thompson in any deal for Love

Fast forward to Thursday and reports that the Warriors are indeed open to dealing the 6-foot-7 guard and career 41 percent 3-point shooter. The rumored deal would involve multiple players on both sides, notably Love and guard Kevin Martin to Golden State with Thompson and power forward David Lee headed to Minnesota.

From the Timberwolves perspective, Thompson's already proven he can shine in the NBA and would become the team's new star. Lee is a consistent double-double presence in his own right. Other reported offers provide more total pieces and a bevy of draft picks, but wont help Minnesota in the short-term. 

This deal makes all kinds of sense for the Warriors. Thompson is a top-10 two-guard, but Love is one of the top-10 players in the league, period. Golden State has Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguadola to pick up slack on the wing - with Martin possibly joining the mix - plus arguably the game's top outside shooter in Stephen Curry. Love would have shot-blocking help inside with center Andrew Bogut. The Western Conference remains truly formidable, but this well-rounded roster would put Golden State in the top tier along with San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

Now let's look at a comparable deal for the Wizards. For starters Love, who previously played under Wizards coach Randy Wittman, and whose father played for the Baltimore Bullets, would have to agree to a long-term deal or fugetaboutit. 

Per the ESPN Trade machine, Washington could indeed deal Beal and Nene for Love and Martin. Minnesota would have to take on Nene's contract not just to make the financial numbers work, but for the Wizards lineup to work.

A combination of Love and Nene leaves Washington without a rim protector - can't bring back Marcin Gortat in this scenario* - which essentially eliminates the idea of a top-10 defensive ranking for a third straight season.  However, trade Nene and re-sign Gortat to pair with Love, now that's interesting.

(*) Per ProBasketballTalk's Dan Feldman, the Wizards would have to renounce cap holds on free agents Gortat and Trevor Ariza to make a deal for Love work.

Less interesting, the idea of trading Beal. We're talking about a player who is arguably part of the NBA's best backcourt with John Wall, was Washington's best player in the playoff series against Indiana and only turns 21 this month. The Wizards would also take on the 31-year-old Martin's contract for three more seasons. Nene's deal ends after the 2015-16 campaign.

Perhaps all of that is worth it for Love. Previously I wrote about why I can't imagine the Wizards would pay such a high price (though let me state I've been a Love backer since his UCLA days). Of course, that was before the Miami Heat looked old in the NBA Finals, giving the rest of the Eastern Conference hope going forward. Perhaps this and other conference factors (Pacers a mess? Derrick Rose's knee? Kyle Lowry leaving Raptors?) make the franchise ready for a major move.