May 19, 2014, 9:22 AM EST
For a while, when offered a Kevin Love trade, the Minnesota Timberwolves put their fingers in their ears and said, “la la la la la la la la la la.”
With Love threatening to leave in free agency, they must change that stance. They don’t have to trade Love – depending on offers, daring Love to pass on the money Minnesota can pay him might be their best option – but they’d be foolish to continue not even listening to trade proposals.
Flip Saunders isn’t that foolish.
“For the first time, [Saunders] sounds like looking at deals for [Love] is an option,” one rival executive told Yahoo Sports.
With the NBA draft lottery coming up this week and an increasing concern that Love will leave for another team after next year, that stance has softened, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The Timberwolves are now open to the idea of trading Love if the right deal comes along.
The people requested anonymity because the team has not made any final decisions on Love’s future in Minnesota. A likely asking price would include a high first-round pick in this year’s draft and a solid veteran or two who would come in and contribute right away to a team that is lacking in veteran leadership.
On one hand, if the Timberwolves had been open to Love trades sooner, they probably could have gotten better offers. On the other hand, that would have meant losing Love when it wasn’t a forgone conclusion they’d lose him anyway. There was – and is – no easy answer here.
If Minnesota trades Love, I’m not sure why veterans would be so appealing. The Timberwolves didn’t make the playoffs with Love. They’re probably not going to make them without Love. It would just be a waste of time to load up on veterans now.
Get drafts picks, young players, etc. Veteran leadership can come from cheap players, not the caliber of player central to a trade for a top-10 player.
The Timberwolves will have opportunities to mull different types of packes. A whole bunch of trade offers should be rolling in.
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