Former Gopher outlines possible Timberwolves' Love trade
With the NBA draft one week away, specifics of one trade rumor involving Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love appear to have crystallized.
Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson has been discussed as a major piece in exchange for Love, Klay’s father, Mychal Thompson, told the Pioneer Press on Thursday.
Klay Thompson could be packaged with forward David Lee and a future first-round pick for Love and guard Kevin Martin, said Thompson, a former Minnesota Gophers and Los Angeles Lakers star.
“Heard from my ESPN sources that talks are getting more serious between the Wolves and Warriors, and that the Warriors are considering putting Klay in the deal,” he said.
Love can become an unrestricted free agent in July 2015, and his camp has reportedly told the Wolves he will not re-sign. The three-time all-star has made multiple noncommittal statements recently about his future in Minnesota.
Love, 25, is coming off his best NBA season, averaging a career-high 26.1 points to go with 12.5 rebounds. Klay Thompson, 24, averaged 18.4 points and shot 42 percent from 3-point range last season, his third in the NBA.
Mychal Thompson, the Gophers’ all-time leading scorer, said he’s disappointed about the possible move because Klay looked forward to playing alongside Love at Golden State, rumored as a potential trade partner for months.
“If this happens, I will have to talk (Klay) down from the ledge,” Thompson said Thursday on ESPN Los Angeles 710 AM.
But the elder Thompson also said this isn’t a shock.
“We knew once the Warriors expressed interest in (Love), Klay’s name, along with Harrison Barnes, and even (Stephen) Curry (would come up),” he said.
Thompson said positives for his son would be playing for Mychal’s former Gophers teammate Flip Saunders, who will return as the Wolves’ coach next season, and the chance to receive passes from point guard Ricky Rubio.
Thompson said he has discussed the rumors with his son.
“I said. ‘If possibly you do get traded to Minnesota, you’d be playing for a great guy and excellent coach who knows the game and how to greatly utilize you,’ ” Thompson said to the Pioneer Press. “I told him, ‘That’s the one positive about this.’ And also playing with a guy like Ricky Rubio, who possibly has the best vision in basketball.”
Klay Thompson, like Rubio, could be due for a contract extension this summer in lieu of becoming restricted free agents next offseason and could angle for a five-year deal.
That’s what Love wanted when the Wolves signed him to a four-year deal in January 2012. Part of that deal is a clause that allows him to opt out of the final year of the contract, which he apparently is set on doing.
Mychal Thompson said breaking up Klay and Curry, who form one of the most dynamic and best-shooting backcourts in the NBA, would be a shame.
“You’ve got something special, so let’s see how far that can go,” he said. “So it’s disappointing to see that they’re going to possibly split it up.”
Mychal also said he believes Love would be an upgrade for Golden State, which won 51 games last season but lost to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
“With Kevin, I think the Warriors would be the fourth seed in the West,” he said.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard tweeted another trade possibility Thursday involving Love, Martin, J.J. Barea, the Wolves’ first-round pick (No. 13) in this year’s draft for Thompson and Lee.
Thompson’s scenario involves no picks in next week’s draft; if that is indeed the case, there is no reason to pull the trigger before Thursday.
And with Boston, Denver, Chicago and up to a dozen others among possible suitors, this doesn’t appear to be the final revelation.