The Houston Rockets once again appear to be in superstar-acquisition mode.
This summer’s target? Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love.
According to Yahoo Sports, the Wolves are considering trading Love after years of turning down offers for their star. While many teams will be calling about Love, the Rockets could be an attractive destination due to his relationship with head coach Kevin McHale.
The Houston Rockets also plan to make a run at a trade for Love, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Officials believe Love’s close relationship and respect for coach Kevin McHale could give the Rockets an edge.
For Minnesota to trade Love, they would need the combination of draft picks, young talent and salary shedding back. Since both the Rockets and Wolves are already over the salary cap for next season, a third team with cap room would need to be brought in to move contracts around.
Houston won’t trade shooting guard James Harden or center Dwight Howard, but anyone else should be available in a deal for Love. Small forward Chandler Parsons would be the best trade asset for the Rockets. Players like Terrence Jones, Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Beverley and Omer Asik also carry value.
Along with Love, the Wolves should be looking to get rid of some of their higher-priced veterans. Guys like Kevin Martin (three years, $21 million), J.J. Barea (one year, $4.5 million) and Ronny Turiaf (one year, $1.5 million) are all veterans that Minnesota should part with in a Love deal.
Looking at teams with cap room who would be willing to take on salary if they also received talent to go along with it, the Dallas Mavericks fit the bill. With just $31 million in committed salary for next season and an aging roster looking to make a push to win Dirk Nowitzki another championship, the Mavs would be a perfect third party.
Here’s what a potential trade between the three teams could look like:
Houston Rockets Receive: PF Kevin Love, SG Kevin Martin, PG J.J. Barea, C Ronny Turiaf
Minnesota Timberwolves Receive: SF Chandler Parsons, PF Terrence Jones, PG Patrick Beverley, PF/C Donatas Motiejunas, No. 25 pick in 2014 (via Rockets), No. 34 pick in 2014 (via Mavericks), 2016 first round pick (via Rockets)
Dallas Mavericks Receive: C Omer Asik, PG Jeremy Lin
The Rockets come away with Love while also picking up vets in Martin, Barea and Turiaf. Minnesota gets a nice haul of young talent, three draft picks and sheds roughly $20 million in team salary. Dallas gives up just a second-round pick, yet gets a quality starting center in Asik and a new backup point guard in Lin.
If the Wolves do finally decide to pull the trigger on a trade for Love, a deal like this would be a solid win for all parties involved.
-Salary numbers via shamsports.com.