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Rage Against the (Trade) Machine: Bringing Love to Beantown

June 12, 2014

Kevin Love wants out? Multiple teams interested? This calls for the Trade Machine!*

Let’s take a quick breather from the NBA Finals and explore trades involving the T-Wolves franchise player—or if you ask Ricky Rubio, just another guy who brings the stats but not the leadership.

Why would the Timberwolves deal Love?

They don’t have a choice. Love has two years left in his deal at roughly $15M per season. The problem is Love has the option to opt out of the final year (2015-2016), which means he will be a free agent after the season.

The T-Wolves can try to convince K-Love to stay, but with the current lineup, it appears the team won’t be contending in the tough Western Conference soon. Remember LeBron in Cleveland? The Cavs tried to woo him and hoped that he’d stay. We all know that didn’t happen and the team was left writing love letters using the Comic Sans font.

The T-Wolves can also wait it out and trade Love during the season. But there’s a risk that his trade value might regress as the team loses leverage because he’s bolting anyway.

The wisest move is to trade Love now while his value and interest from other teams are high.

What do Love and the Timberwolves want?

The T-Wolves want young prospects, future draft picks, and expiring or cheap contracts to hasten their rebuilding. Love wants to go to a contender so he can legitimately challenge for a title.

What teams are chasing Love this offseason?

The Celtics, Bulls, Lakers, Cavs, and Suns are mentioned in various rumors. Beantown, however, gets the most focus since Love visited Boston recently.

Among the group, the Bulls are the only playoff squad although the Cavs and Suns came close. The Lakers sucked last season but they are still in L.A.—always a free agent draw and Love’s hometown.
Assuming the T-Wolves are finally ready to let go of Love and teams are actually willing to give up some of their assets, here’s one probable deal with Boston:

Minnesota receives:
Kris Humphries – $12m (expiring)
Brandon Bass – $6.54m (one year left)
Jerryd Bayless – $3.14m (expiring)
Avery Bradley – $2.51m (expiring, qualifying offer)
Kelly Olynyk – $1.98m (three years left)
+ 3 future first round picks (see below)

Boston Receives:
Kevin Love – $14.69m (two years left, option to opt-out 14-15)
Kevin Martin – $6.5m (three years left)
Chase Budinger – $5m (two years left)

Logic for the Timberwolves

The Celtics don’t have many young prospects to offer but they have multiple picks. And when we say multiple, we mean lots and lots of picks (special thanks to Brooklyn, who traded for 60-year-old Kevin Garnett and 55-year-old Paul Pierce and gave up future selections).

Boston owns the following draft picks:
2014 1st round pick (6th)
2014 1st round pick (from Brooklyn)
2015 1st round pick (from Philadelphia, protected 1st to 14th)
2015 1st round pick (from L.A. Clippers)
2015 2nd round pick (from Sacramento, protected 31st to 55th)
2016 1st round pick (from Brooklyn)
2016 2nd round pick (from Miami)
2017 1st round pick (from Brooklyn with Boston having the right to swap first rounders)
2017 2nd round pick (from Sacramento)
2018 1st round pick (from Brooklyn)

Here’s a future conversation between Boston GM Danny Ainge and Minnesota GM Flip Saunders:

DA: Hey!
FS: What’s up?
DA: We want Kevin.
FS: Martin?
DA: Ha!
FS: We want young guys or prospects.
DA: That won’t work. Our young guys are not really prospects, just future scrubs. Maybe except for one or two.
FS: How about future picks?
DA: Wait, I’ll send you an e-mail.
(Ainge sends list above)
(Saunders reads list)
FS: Dayum! I’m interested!
DA: Pick three first-rounders.
FS: Where do I sign?

Aside from the first-rounders, Minnesota also gets cap relief: Humphries, Bayless, and Bradley are all free agents after July 31, while Bass’ contract expires next year. Olynyk is on a cheap deal and is actually a serviceable player.

Minnesota’s depth chart after the trade

PG – Rubio/Barea/Jeffers
SG – Bradley/Shved
SF – Brewer/Muhammad
PF – Bass/Cunningham/Mbah a Moute/
C- Pekovic/Dieng/Olynyk/Turiaf

Plus prospects with the acquired first-rounders (PF Julius Randle as 6th pick?).

Logic for the Celtics

Rajon Rondo will most likely bolt should the Celtics continue their tanking. This deal brings a legit superstar and rotation players to the fold and will make them playoff contenders in the weak East. Winning Love, however, comes with a cost with the long-term deals of Martin and Budinger, but both are serviceable enough to be part of the Celtics’ playoff hopes.

Boston’s Depth Chart (with salary) after the trade

PG – Rondo/FA
SG – Martin/FA
SF – Green/Budinger/Wallace
PF – Love/Sullinger
C – Anthony/FA

The Celtics are almost capped out after this deal but they can fill the obvious weak spots (starting C and back-up PG and SG) with veteran free agents. A Rondo-Love combo is a good start and should attract a few free agents to sign with them. They can’t afford Marcin Gortat but the likes of Emeka Okafor, Greg Stiemsma, and Chris Kaman are good enough. As for PG/SG, they have a wide selection from Kirk Hinrich, Nate Robinson, Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks, and Alan Anderson to name a few.

*The Trade Machine via ESPN is a one-stop shop where basketball fans can satisfy their trade fantasies. We believe NBA general managers even use it for their own team’s potential transactions. How else can you explain Isiah Thomas’ failure with the New York Knicks?

The trade posted in this article follows actual NBA trade rules and considers team salary cap situations. Weekly here at BuhayBasket, we will explore some of the trade possibilities in the NBA landscape.