Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love Trade Declined, But Was It The Right Decision?

The Minnesota Timberwolves are under new management, so we expected there wouldn’t be any more questionable decisions coming out of their camp. If David Kahn were still on the throne, the Wolves may have pulled the trigger on the most recent trade offer. Instead, Flip Saunders turned down a Kevin Love trade that would have given the franchise a new look and some more cap flexibility. Why did they turn the Cleveland Cavaliers away?

The reported offer was the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters in return for Love. Although Saunders could have been talking about a number of different proposals, this tweet seems to sum it up well:

 

Now, was it that bad of an offer?

Waiters was the No .4 pick in the 2012 NBA draft and although he had an up-and-down rookie season, he wasn’t a bust by any means. Thompson is emerging as a player, but there’s no way he would be able to replace Love’s production on the glass or on the offensive end. Let’s take a look at Waiters and Thompson’s statlines from last season:

Player Season Age G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Tristan Thompson 2012-13 21 82 82 31.3 .488 .000 .608 3.7 5.7 9.4 1.3 0.7 0.9 1.5 2.9 11.7
Dion Waiters 2012-13 21 61 48 28.8 .412 .310 .746 0.4 2.1 2.4 3.0 1.0 0.3 2.0 1.9 14.7
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/26/2013.

At first glance, that’s not too bad. Getting two 21-year-old players who are still developing sounds enticing. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft isn’t a sure thing (which is why the Cavs are so willing to let it go). Still, the idea of putting an athletic shot-blocker like Nerlens Noel on the Timberwolves would be pretty fun.

So with all of that value, why did the Wolves turn it down?

Fans tend to have a short memory. This is the guy we’re talking about giving up:

Yes, Love had a bad 2012-13 season. He broke his hand, then re-broke it later in the year. The best of the best have injury-riddled seasons that stick out like a sore thumb. But this is the guy who entered the MVP discussion in 2011-12 and is just 24 years old. Look at his 2011-12 season:

Season Age G GS MP FG% 3P% FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2011-12 23 55 55 39.0 .448 .372 .824 4.1 9.2 13.3 2.0 0.9 0.5 2.3 2.8 26.0
Career 287 205 31.8 .449 .352 .813 3.9 8.3 12.2 1.9 0.6 0.5 1.9 2.4 17.3
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/26/2013.

That’s not a guy that comes around very often. He’s a stretch four that not only makes threes, but rebounds like a maniac. He continues to build confidence as a leader and is the perfect pair for Ricky Rubio.

Why did the Wolves turn this trade down? It feels too much like that fantasy football trade where someone offers four starters for a star. “You’re getting 25 TD’s and you only have to give up a guy that had 20 last year!”

The Cavs took a shot, and it missed. Can’t blame them for trying, but can’t blame the Wolves for turning them down.

 

Topics: Kevin Love Trade, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA

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