The Golden State Warriors are rumored to be willing to include Klay Thompson along with Harrison Barnes and David Lee in an offer for Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, according to a report by
David Lee and Harrison Barnes are expected to be a part of the deal as well. No trade is imminent, but the Warriors are willing to do whatever it takes to land Love now - even if that means letting go of a franchise favorite in Thompson.
Based on the Koutroupis report of a Barnes/Lee/Thompson package, the Wolves would likely send Love along with Kevin Martin to the Warriors if that trade were to occur.
This latest twist in the ongoing saga came less than 24 hours after reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers are now willing to include top draft pick Andrew Wiggins in their offer to the Wolves for Love. Wiggins would probably be part of a package that also included 2013 #1 pick Anthony Bennett, Brendan Haywood, and a first round draft pick. But salary-wise, that package doesn't work - with Wiggins still an unsigned draft selection, his rights aren't attached to any salary.
@aaronjon451 Wiggins, Bennett, future 1st, Haywood is one potential scenario. Hard to say. Here's why: NOTHING IS IMMINENT.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) July 18, 2014
Including Tristan Thompson would make the salaries work, but then it's reasonable to wonder whether the Cavs would be willing to give up three top five picks that they drafted (meaning they think highly of those players) along with a future pick for Love alone. Those financial details of making this work are the reason why Adrian Wojnarowski's report that the Cavs are looking for a third team to help facilitate a deal makes sense - it could help even the numbers and possibly allow the Wolves to dump a contract in the process of trading Love, which would obviously give them more salary cap flexibility moving forward.
So where the Warriors might now hold an advantage in these negotiations is a matter of simplicity: a deal of Barnes, Lee, and Thompson for Love and Kevin Martin works without much additional wrangling (aside from whether the Wolves would demand the Warriors' 2015 draft pick). If the Wolves' dealings with the Cavs get too clunky, the Warriors would have an opening.
Yet the most important takeaway of all these rumors: whether the Cavs or Warriors eventually land Love, nobody is willing to commit to saying a deal is "imminent". And trade willingness is not at all the same as a formal trade proposal. At the very least, it's probably fair to say that there's some sort of communication occuring with both the Cavs and Warriors. Given the multiple reports that the Cavs are willing to include Wiggins, we can almost certainly say that this thing is closer to a resolution today than it was yesterday. Beyond that, we neither know how far along talks are with either team nor which offer the Wolves (would) favor.
But ultimately, this will all come down to how the Wolves value the principal parts of each offer.
While Thompson is more of a refined basketball player who has proven he can be productive as a supporting player on a playoff team, some believe that the 18-year-old Wiggins could develop into a superstar at some point in the future. Although it's quite easy to look at where Minnesota is now and say Wiggins is a better building block for the future, there's also salary cap considerations and how much they value a Warriors package that offers more proven NBA players in the short-term.
And of course, the Wolves could just sit on Love and wait to see if the offers continue to get better.
It's also worth noting that last night's report that the Warriors are willing to include Thompson in a deal doesn't necessarily conflict with yesterday morning's report that they weren't willing - both could very well have been true at the time reporters got the info. Again, a plausible narrative is that the Cavs made it known they were willing to trade Wiggins and the Warriors later softened their position on Thompson. And a team source adamantly denying a rumor about what they'd offer during an active negotiation wouldn't exactly be a shocker either.
For more on this ongoing story, check out our Kevin Love trade rumors storystream.