As we covered yesterday there are plenty of reasons not to trade for Kevin Love using the #1 overall pick. There are plenty of reasons to trade for Love, even with the #1 pick, but is it possible to do so without giving up that pick? SI proposed a number of trades that could bring Love to different teams, including the Cavs. They don’t believe either that the Cavs will or should include the #1 pick in exchange for Love. Lets take a look at their trade suggestion and reasoning and parse it out a bit:
Cavaliers acquire: Kevin Love, J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved
Minnesota will surely ask about the No. 1 pick in any talks with Cleveland, but there could be a workable deal without its inclusion. In this framework, the Wolves would get a useful veteran defender in Varejao (who could be subsequently traded or waived to save nearly $6 million), a low buy on Bennett, a decent rotation piece in Thompson, a wild-card addition in Waiters and a future pick. Again, there’s no star-in-waiting prospect or high pick for the Wolves, but perhaps sheer volume of assets could bridge the divide.
If this doesn’t seem like quite enough for Love, that’s very much by design. Minnesota is unlikely to get an established star in a deal for its best player, as one would otherwise expect, because his ability to opt out of his contract is just too prohibitive and the Wolves are negotiating from a place where a trade is all but necessary. That combination encourages teams to toe the line with regard to what might be considered a reasonable trade offer, possibly to the point of taking assets like the No. 1 pick off the table.
For the Cavaliers this may look like a slam dunk deal, and actually could be, but lets start with the T’Wolves first. They get a bevvy of players to try to bolster their team around Ricky Rubio. Waiters is a shooter, slasher, scorer that the team doesn’t currently have. Bennett and Thompson provide valuable power forward starter and backup with a high floor guy in Thompson and a high ceiling guy in Bennett. Varejao gives them a backup at the 5 and another possible trade chip to get a good pick, if he stays healthy. They take the ’16 pick with the hopes that both Love and Kyrie Irving leave the Cavs and the team becomes a train wreck. For the Wolves Waiters and the pick are the big pieces but the depth of this trade would be huge for the team moving forward.
For the Cavaliers this is a best of both worlds type of trade. Love and Irving pair to give the Cavs great shooters at the 1 and 4. The #1 pick would almost certainly become Andrew Wiggins as a lockdown defender and wing player would be necessary to balance out the other two stars. The Cavs would still have salary cap space that they could creatively turn into a superstar level player, LeBron James etc, or a few quality free agents to pair around their 2 young stars and star of the future. Another trade could also be in the works. Irving, Love, Wiggins and James could be the best team in the league from Day 1, really after the All Star break as they get accustomed to each other. Other free agents would also help the young squad come together quickly. The biggest issue for the Cavs is losing Waiters and Bennett, both young upside guys. One of the two could easily be exchanged for a ’15 pick in which the Cavs should have 3. Giving up 2 of those 3 and the ’16 pick could allow the Cavs to keep a little more depth in this type of trade.
Of all the suggested trades for Minnesota I would most likely make trades with the Rockets (love Chandler Parsons), Pistons (Monroe and Singler), Warriors (Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes) and maybe the Celtics (#6 pick and Brooklyn’s ’16 pick). The Cavs can sweeten the offer with a ton of extra first round picks though which could entice the Wolves.
While a long shot, how would you feel about gutting the team, but not #1, for Love?