Nov 6, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) plays tight defense on Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love (42) as he attempts to drive to the basket in the first half at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors: Time To Trade For Kevin Love

The clock is ticking for the Golden State Warriors. Once LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony made their decisions, free agency fell like a stack of dominoes. But since then, things have died down a little bit and it doesn’t feel like there’s really a sense of urgency. But if the Dubs are serious about adding Kevin Love to the roster and pairing him in a superstar duo with Stephen Curry, they’ll act quickly.

Before this weekend, the Warriors had the most concrete and tempting offer for Kevin Love…if only they had actually been willing to offer it. Most trade talks between the Dubs and the Minnesota Timberwolves were either centered around Klay Thompson and David Lee in exchange for Love, or Thompson, Lee and Harrison Barnes for Love and Kevin Martin.

Here’s the problem: Thompson is included in both of those trade scenarios, and the Warriors aren’t convinced they need to include their sharpshooting guard in a deal, even when it’s in the pursuit of Kevin Love. The Dubs value Lee, who averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in Golden State last season, and according to Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News, believe that by including him in the deal, they’re giving the Wolves plenty of value without having to add Thompson.

Minnesota isn’t so certain. Lee is an effective stat sheet-stuffer, but his problems on the defensive end have largely been masked by Andrew Bogut, one of the league’s best defensive centers. The Wolves don’t have a player like Bogut and a Lee-Nikola Pekovic frontcourt won’t be getting many stops in the paint. In order for a deal to go through, Lee has to be involved, however.

His $15 million contract needs to be off Golden State’s books for the trade to go through, with either Thompson or Barnes marking the second and final piece of a deal (unless Martin is included, that is, in which case the Dubs would have to include both Barnes and Thompson). Minnesota’s and Golden State’s differing opinion on Lee’s value means they disagree on whether Thompson or Barnes should be the other piece.

Barnes regressed last year in his second NBA season, clearly struggling to adjust to his new role coming off the bench with the arrival of Andre Iguodala. Averaging 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while shooting 40 percent from the field, Barnes really hurt his trade value and had he been able to build on his great 2013 NBA Playoffs run, he and Lee might have been able to cut it.

Now, the Wolves are adamant that Thompson be included in any potential Love trade, and rightfully so. Barnes is only 22 years old, far too early to declare his underwhelming year a sign of things to come, but Thompson is much closer to a sure thing and he’s a solid, young piece Minnesota could use to rebuild after Love’s impending departure.

Thompson averaged 18.4 points per game last season and shot 41 percent from three-point range as the complementary member of the Splash Brothers. But Thompson will never be an All-Star, and the Warriors are being foolish by not pulling the trigger on a deal here. Why? There’s the obvious reason that Love is a top 10 player in this league who would complement the Dubs’ offense perfectly as a stretch-4, but even worse, the Warriors don’t have the best offer on the table anymore.

When LeBron James decided to head home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he changed the landscape of the East. Armed with the King, Kyrie Irving and No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins, the Cavs have a solid core to build around. But talks between the Cavs and Wolves involving Kevin Love were inevitable. And although Cleveland currently has a similar situation going on in their reluctance to include Wiggins in a Love deal, the Cavaliers could offer Minnesota something far better now.

The Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics are also looming large as potential Kevin Love destinations that could present superior offers to Golden State’s. By signing-and-trading for Isaiah Thomas, the Suns amassed the league’s best and deepest backcourt, but with Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Tyler Ennis already on board, Phoenix could offer something like Bledsoe (who would have to agree to the deal), one or both of the Morris twins and a multitude of picks to get the job done.

The Celtics have Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, the newly acquired Tyler Zeller and tons of draft picks to put a deal together. They also drafted Marcus Smart and James Young into their now-crowded backcourt, and those are two attractive prospects that could sweeten a deal (though the Celtics would be far more likely to move Young than Smart). Either way, the Cavaliers, Suns and Celtics all could put together better deals than the Warriors’ best offer.

That is exactly why the Warriors need to strike now while they’re still in the running. If they’re able to convince Minnesota they don’t go through a full rebuild, they have the most attractive pieces that will help the Wolves win now. You can never wait during free agency, and although Thompson is one of the league’s better shooting guards already, that’s not saying much about the state of the shooting guard position in today’s league and he’s certainly not worth missing out on Kevin Love.

Tags: Golden State Warriors Kevin Love Kevin Love Trades Klay Thompson NBA NBA Free Agency

  • kromman

    I have to agree. Thompson is a valuable player, but in essence a glorified jump-shooter. He plays strong defense, but not spectacular. His post moves are weak, and his Basketball IQ is good but not great. Add it up and you’ve got an above-average NBA player who is probably at or near his peak potential. Love on the other hand is one of the top-ten players in the league. I like my Camaro fine, but when someone offers me a Corvette, I jump on it.

    Fortunately, I have an affinity for Cleveland dating back to the Mark Price/Brad Daugherty/Lary Nance/Ron Harper days. That was a hell of a team. So if Cleveland gets Love, they’ve got a younger and better big three than they had in Miami and more championships will come.

    • fidel305

      Seriously, Irving better than wade was? Not even close

      Love better than bosh? No, since love can’t play a lick of defense and bosh can although he can struggle with some 5s and power 4s. Close but no cigar

      But ur Wade v Irving assessment is just ignorant

      • kromman

        I wasn’t talking about the past. I’ll grant you that at his peak Wade was a better player than Irving, but right now the positions are reversed. I’ve never been a big Bosh guy, so I’d still take Love over him in their respective primes, even though Bosh’s D is better.

    • Twinkie defense

      Did you just criticize a shooting guard because of his post moves? Hahaha.

      I don’t know what team you like but if you love you some Love so much maybe you want them to throw the kitchen sink for him… as a Warriors fan I can do with or without the guy – he’s no LeBron.

      And if Cleveland has two of their starting five as Love and Irving, I hope someone else besides LeBron is going to play defense.

      • Gerald Bourguet

        By that logic, nobody except LeBron would be good enough. You can’t just compare a guy to the best player in the league and say he wouldn’t help just because he’s not as good as LeBron…

        • Twinkie defense

          No I’m saying if you to trade LeBron to the Warriors, just tell them who you want – a la carte. And if you want to trade them a second tier player like Love, they will give you a menu to choose from, you can say no but you don’t get to pick your pieces.

  • methuselah46

    You can’t use Lee’s defensive liabilities to devalue him relative to Love because Love is also a lousy defender. As a rebounder all is equal. Love had better numbers, but Lee has to share rebounds with Bogut so that’s a push too. Love certainly has an offensive edge and that’s why Barnes & perhaps as 1st round choice are in the mix. Adding Thompson is just too high a price to pay.

    • Ron

      And Love doesnt share rebounds with Pek? C’mon maaan….

      • methuselah46

        Love: 12.5 RB/g
        Lee: 9.3 RB/g
        Difference: 2.2 RB/g
        Pekovic: 8.7 RB/g
        Bogut: 10.0 RB/g
        Difference: 2.3 RB/g

        Lee played 3.1 fewer min/game than Love
        Pekovic played 4.4 more min/game than Bogut but got fewer RB leaving more for Love.

        Like I said, it’s essentially a wash in rebounding.

        • Zach Lanars

          You might wanna check your math again… 12.5-9.3=3.2. 10-8.7=1.3. Regardless that’s flawed logic anyway because you could use the same logic to say that Pek is a better rebounder than Bogut just because he has Love taking his rebounds. If you watch the two players at all you realize that Love is a far superior player in every facet of the game and is 6 years younger. Plus Lee is making $30 million over the next 2 years. He isn’t an asset you get a superstar like Love for, especially at that price.

          • methuselah46

            Funny things happen to sports fans. Some under-value certain players, e.g. Dubs fans love to hate on Lee. Others over-estimate the value of their favorite player. Love has put up great stats on a very very bad team much as Lee did when he was with the Knicks. I don’t think the players are equals, merely that Love is not worth the combination of Lee, Thompson, & Barnes just on a net-talent level. Add in the loss of team chemistry and I think it would be a net loss for the Warriors.

          • Zach Lanars

            Yeah I can see how you wouldn’t want to break up the splash bros but I’m just saying there is no reason for the wolves to trade Love for Lee if all they are getting is Barnes and some late firsts in return. Love’s numbers maybe inflated but they are better than Lee’s even in his prime and Love is 6 years younger. If the wolves can’t make the postseason with Love, Lee isn’t gonna help and I would rather see a full rebuild with young players.

          • methuselah46

            Any way you look at it, the Wolves are going to lose Love, either by trade some time before the deadline, or as an unrestricted free agent next summer. The question is, can they get ANYTHING of real value back in return. Wolves management is between a rock and a hard place and hasn’t come to terms with it yet.

          • Zach Lanars

            And the warriors are unlikely to be able to afford Thompson next year. I think there are already better offers than Lee-Barnes from other teams. Waiters, Bennett and two firsts may not be as much talent now but I think that it has more potential and would give the wolves more cap room. They aren’t going to win many games either way next year

          • Twinkie defense

            Warriors can afford Klay and are budgeting for just that. Summer of 2016 Warriors could have just Steph, Klay, Iggy, Bogut under contract, with the cap ballooning with new TV rights deals. If there are better deals than Lee/Barnes Warriors are fine, I think, if Minny takes one of those offers. No panic mode in GS. If Minny really, really wants Klay they should get Wiggins on offer, that could be the thing to force their hand.

          • Kyle Simas

            Oh they will be able to afford him. All GSW has to do is dump Iggy & keep Green &/or barnes.

          • Zach Lanars

            I suppose that would work but would you rather have Klay and David Lee or Kevin Love and Iggy? I suppose it’s all a matter of opinion but I think Love is the best player of the four and I think Iggy is more valuable than Lee. But I can’t argue with wanting to keep Curry and Thompson together

          • thewarriorsrule


    • Gerald Bourguet

      Love actually fared surprisingly well on one-on-one post defense last season, per Synergy Sports (especially compared the Lee). Love is a superior rebounder and had to share rebounds with Nikola Pekovic as well.

    • methuselah46

      Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury breaks down the difference in player evaluations very well in this column:

    • thewarriorsrule

      love is a better rebounder than lee. even when lee was alone before bogut, his rebounding numbers weren’t as good as love’s.

      i think barnes’ will have the better career over thompson’s, we just haven’t seen it yet. i’d rather give up klay and keep barnes in order to get love.

      • Rob L

        Agreed, Love is much better than David Lee in so many ways… Believe me I like LEE but Love is a way better rebounder and scorer. Love have had better rebounding, and scoring and Shooting percenting throughout many years not just one year comparison..

        ALSO, KLOVE is a bigger body that can push back against more physical players and not get abused like LEE does, Lee always gets punished by tougher and bigger powerforwards Bogut have to guard them and get in foul trouble. Love is abit better on defense because of his bigger body frame and height..

        AND most importantly, KLOVE can stretch the floor all the way to the 3pt line forcing other teams shot blocker and rebounder like Clippers Jordan to play him close to 3pt line and allowing other Warriors to attack the basket because Jordan have to close out on KLOVE 3pt shooting skills..basically LOVE offers WAY MORE OPTIONS on offensive for Kerr and his amazing coaching staff…

        • thewarriorsrule

          agree, but why are you telling me? tell the other guy. lol

  • Craig Daniels

    Would make the trade now hands down love is the best PF in the game bosh wishes he was as good as love. Bosh is ok but Love is a 30,30 guys

    Also while Kmart can’t play defense he can shoot just as well as Thomson

    • Twinkie defense

      K-Mart is a POS which is why Minny is trying to dump him in a Love trade. If he is almost equal to Klay why do they need Klay? Should be able to get a deal done without Klay.

  • Craig Daniels

    The wolves gotta make a move you can’t drag this on if Cleveland wants to be cheap skates let them. The wolves aren’t this awful team people think they are. Sure on paper they have missed 10 strait playoffs but hey in that time they were rebuilding and such. Now they are promising about dam time. Lucky for you ignorant Cavs fans your team sucked far worse then the wolves

  • Twinkie defense

    It’s funny how people want to factor in David Lee’s defense to reduce his value in a trade, while not doing the same for Kevin Love and his defense.

    • Gerald Bourguet

      Love actually fared pretty well (especially compared to Lee) on one-on-one post defense last season, per Synergy Sports. And the point isn’t that I am factoring in Lee’s defense, the point is that Minnesota is doing so in a potential Kevin Love trade.

      • Twinkie defense

        And obviously GS is doing the same factoring… if they felt getting Love was such a lopsided trade result for them they would have pulled the trigger already.

        • Gerald Bourguet

          Right. Except the Dubs are dumb for doing so, and the Wolves are not.

          • Twinkie defense

            Dumb or not, we’ll just judge the final results. Warriors used to be a franchise prone to panic moves, if they can’t get Love on their own terms I think they are happy enough to go with the current roster or sign Love as an UFA next summer. But if it was such a no-brainer move I don’t get why no team has outbid the Warriors yet? Maybe you can explain that in your next piece.

          • Gerald Bourguet

            Don’t get me wrong, the Warriors will still be a very good team next season even without Love. But Curry, Love, Livingston, Iggy, Bogut and Green would make one hell of a core and it’d be a shame to miss out just because of Klay. But I actually covered some Kevin Love trade possibilities and why they might not happened on Fansided earlier today now that you mention it:

  • Kyle Simas

    Why not trade Lee, Barnes, Kuzmic and 2 first round picks for Love & Martin? The money works, we get a back up SG in Martin, and an allstar PF in Love. We could then use the cap space left to sign some Savvy vets preferably at the 2 and the 4.

    1) Curry, Livingston, Nedovic
    2) Klay, Martin, ?
    3). Iggy, Barnes, Green
    4). Love, Speights, ?
    5). Bogut, Ezeli, O’Neal

    This works for The Wolves because they get Crawford who is a better cheaper Martin. Kuzmic is a promising young 7+ footer that would help fill one of Minni’s largest glaring holes. Barnes is the youth with star studded potential they crave. Lee is practically an older Love who’s stats suffered because he was on a better team than Love was, its easy to stack the stat sheets if your team sucks.The 2 futer first rounders will provide them the opportunity to reload.

    • Kyle Simas

      You would have to sign and trade Crawford of coarse.

  • thewarriorsrule

    warriors are so stupid. gave up on a chance to get love, overvalued thompson, and now love is going to the cavs. nice job. moreover, how are they going to pay for klay’s contract and stay under the luxury tax? lacob has said since he owned the team that he is willing to pay the tax, but all of his actions so far speak otherwise. get rid of iggy or bogut? no thanks. we also need those players to be contenders as well you know. we should have got rid of klay and morphed lee’s contract into something more productive like love’s (just a little bit more). this is the same old warriors again. sigh.

  • kromman

    I have to respect Kerr’s position. Basically “I’d like Love, but with a new approach and better offensive strategy we may already have the pieces in place. Let’s see what can be done with these guys first”

    On another note: Kevin Martin isn’t being talked about much, but he’s a very efficient shooter and would probably blend well with the Dubs. Personally I’d like to see the trade happen, but won’t be heartbnroken if it doesn’t.

  • Tito Puente

    Klay Thompson is being vastly overvalued, and all of these trade scenarios ignore the fact that he’s about to ask for a max deal (him and his dad came out suggesting they wouldn’t be totally concerned about going to Minny because that would mean guaranteeing a max deal).

    There’s no way the Warriors could field a competitive roster if they’re paying everybody in their starting lineup $12-20 million, their bench would be D-leaguers and minimum salary guys, and it would defeat the purpose of getting Love. The only way this trade makes sense is if you include Klay, or else the Warriors will have all their money tied in five players.

    And besides.

    Thompson’s just an above-average player, he’s not a star, or even an all-star.

    He can’t dribble, he’s a terrible rebounder for his size, he’s a terrible passer for a guard, he’s a poor free throw shooter for a supposedly ‘great shooter’, and he’s actually not a great shooter, he’s a streaky shooter who is sometimes amazing, and often below average… AND… all of Klay’s shooting percentages have been inflated because of all the attention Steph Curry gets — Klay never creates his own jumpers.

    ESPN’s biggest advanced metric is Player Efficiency Rating (PER) — and every year they make it so the average NBA player has a PER of 15.00.

    Last year was Klay’s best season of his entire career — and his PER was 14.32

    (Klay has never cracked a PER of 15 in his three NBA seasons)

    That’s not good, and it’s because he doesn’t do anything but shoot and play D, and he doesn’t shoot nearly as well as people think.

    If the Warriors trade Klay the only thing that will be really missed is defense and his ability to guard multiple defenders, while Love’s 3pt percentage will go way up playing with Steph, and will make up for Klay’s absence there.

    Finally, here’s one thing i think everyone is missing about the Kevin Love vs. Klay Thompson dynamic…

    There seems to be this notion that Klay is this up and coming (gonna be) all-star that is on the rise and will eventually be one of the best SG’s in the NBA, while Kevin Love is this old grizzled veteran who has had great seasons on losing teams.

    In case you didn’t know —- Kevin Love is 25 years old —- Klay Thompson is 24 years old

    you know, Kevin Love might be getting better also (he did just have his best season), and maybe while Klay Thompson is trying to figure out how to get his shot off vs. triple teams in Minny — K Love will be seeing single coverage for the first time in his career in Oakland, and showing the entire NBA how he can destroy people when guarded one-on-one.

    ps Kevin Love’s PER last season 26.97, Thompson’s PER last season 14.32

    Kevin Love had the third highest PER in the entire NBA last season behind Durant and Lebron (and that was while playing with a terrible roster in Minny)

    Klay Thompson had the ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SECOND highest PER last year — and that was while playing with great players around him to get him open shots

    why are people so attached to Klay?

    If we don’t do this, we’re going to be forced to pay a max contract to a guard next year that can’t driblle, pass or rebound —– one who was only the 132nd most efficient player in the league last year..

    we’re going to not do this trade because we want to hang on to our rights to overpay the 132nd most efficient player in the league????????? i’m sorry..

    that’s not just dumb, that’s incredibly stupid!! have you guys looked at the rosters in the West??

    the only chance the Warriors have is to make a move, and keeping Klay Thompson will only lead to the Dubs signing him to long, expensive, and bad contract in the future, i promise you…

    ~free Love

  • The Truth

    Both the Cavs and Warriors are being ridiculous. If I’m the Timberwolves, I don’t go for any of their deals if they don’t include Wiggins or Thompson. In fact, I would target Wiggins. Even if you lose Love – a top ten player, maybe top 5 at this point – for nothing, the offers made by the Cavs and Warriors won’t make you any more competitive. In fact, they may hinder you. The Timberwolves will be stuck as a 30-win team for years to come (if they’re lucky). Might as well take your chances in the Lottery… Same difference. At least you don’t go for a slap in the face!