There’s a Mexican Standoff happening in Minnesota, of all places, and it involves Kevin Love, the Timberwolves, the middle-of-the-road Golden State Warriors and the LeBron-happy Cavaliers. It’s been relative madness thus far as we’ve been fed the following threads:
1) The Warriors and ‘Wolves are in heated discussions over Love. Move seems imminent. Golden State wants Love, Minny wants Klay Thompson.
2) Talks have stalled between the two teams. Under no circumstances would GS give up Thompson for Love (if true, that might tell you a bit about Love).
3) Cavs are now in the lead for Love. A Wiggins-Love swap of some kind seems likely. LeBron REALLY likes Love. But Cleveland would rather hold on to Wiggins, if possible. Minnesota backs out; they’re in the hunt for potential superstars.
4) Thompson is now said to be on the block. Talks resurface between Minny and Golden State. A deal is around the corner.
5) Cavs put Wiggins on the block. Once again, the Cavs are frontrunners in the standoff. This time, for sure, a deal will be made for Love. The remodeled Cavs will now be our 2014-15 NBA Champs.
Thing is, all three sides have major gambles to make, hence the stalling. XN Sports would bet its money on there being no clear winner in the posturing because that’s usually how posturing goes: winners tend to be decided after the fact because all sides are essentially trying to be mind readers and psychics at once.
Minny, for its part, knows it’s losing Love one way or another. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to play dead in the process. Flip Saunders wants a good part of Love’s value in return and, frankly, trades not headlined by a Klay Thompson-David Lee or Andrew Wiggins-Tristan Thompson tandem, at least, aren’t going to move Minny’s needle much. It’s less clear if, without Love, Saunders would go for broke and choose the deal that gives him the bigger prospects (Wiggins, Thompson, Waiters, even Bennett). The likelier scenario, however, is that with Rubio, Dieng, and Pek in the barracks, he’d go for something that retains the Wolves’ competitive edge.
Golden State, with Love, would be a better team but it’s unlikely the subtractions involved in getting him would benefit the team long-term. A backcourt of Kevin Martin and Stephen Curry would be treated like a red carpet by the West’s other backcourts.
The Cavs, on the other hand, have the least to lose. Either they land a top-10 guy now or they build their ranks and chemistry this year while they ponder their options going into a stacked 2015 free agency that includes bigs like Marc Gasol, DeAndre Jordan, and Robin Lopez, all who help patch Cleveland’s many potholes better than a Love ever could. As good as Love is, courting him might put LeBron in a 2013-14 Big Three scenario where the depth just isn’t enough to overcome a three-deep squad like the San Antonio Spurs.
If anything, this past NBA Finals should prove that chasing superteams isn’t the recipe for success it’s treated as. 2014-15 Love, James, Irving isn’t on the level of a 2010-11 Bosh, James, Wade no matter how you dice it. And that team won championships at only a 50 percent clip. Still, there’s some worry that LeBron will dart off for greener pastures if Cleveland doesn’t win soon. That reasoning isn’t supported by anything more than troubled pasts and surely LeBron must understand that Cleveland is a team in the making.
Of course, time will be the best way to sort out this Kevin Love madness. But, in the meantime, a little common sense goes a long way. No deal has been made exactly because a deal has yet to be made. That shows that all sides are pressed to pick an easy resolution. Expecting them to do so will only further add to the madness.