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Report: Timberwolves prefer Klay Thompson to Andrew Wiggins in Kevin Love trade

Jul 18, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

If the Cavaliers are really willing to trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love, the deal should be completed soon.

The Timberwolves can take advantage of LeBron Jamesdesire to play with Love and get phenomenal return for a player who might walk in a year.

It’s a no-brainer.

Unless…

Joe Kotoch of Pro Basketball Draft:

Klay Thompson is more ready? Ready to do what? Help Minnesota win 40 games again?

The Timberwolves finished 10th in the West last season with Love. Regardless of whether they trade the top-10 player for Thompson or Wiggins, they’re taking a step back. Flip Saunders isn’t that good of a coach, and the rest of the roster didn’t change much.

The West is too strong, anyway. Minnesota is better off rebuilding in earnest with Wiggins and letting the conference’s top teams cool off. Even if the Timberwolves were somewhat positioned to win now – they’re not – the intense intra-conference competition should push them in the direction of a longer-term process.

I hope Saunders is just trying to leverage the Warriors’ unwillingness to deal Thompson for Love into squeezing out every last possible asset from Cleveland in a Love-Wiggins trade. Wiggins plus salary filler to make the trade work under CBA rules is enough, but I don’t begrudge Saunders for trying to get more. He has Love, and therefore, he has some leverage.

But if he truly prefers Thompson to Wiggins, Saunders is more unqualified to run the Timberwolves than we ever imagined.

100 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. peopletrains - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    I will never watch another dribble in the Target Center if they opt for Thompson instead of Wiggins, regardless of if Wiggins meets his potential or not.

    • redbaronx - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      @peopletrains – Don’t believe this. Even if Minny is professing their Love for Klay Thompson over Wiggins in a trade for Love, I don’t believe that for a second. Minny is just trying to play the Cavs into getting what they want. The Cavs were a bit foolish to openly proclaim that would trade Wiggins straight up, and they lost bargaining position strength as a result. If I were in Cavs management I would not talk to Minny until October at least. Contrary to popular belief on talk radio (they all think Minny has the power position in bargaining with teams), I believe that the Cavs are in the power position. Let’s look at this:

      1) Kevin Love WANTS to play with LeBron. Even if Minny traded with GS, there’s no guarantee that Love wouldn’t flee at the end of the year in Free Agency. Love has made zero indication that he would sign a contract with GS. BUT he IS on record saying he would do that with Cleveland.
      2) Even if Cleveland doesn’t get Love, they will have a hell of a position with their young guys. If they wait a year they can have their cake (Wiggins) and eat it too. Meaning get Love in Free Agency if he doesn’t want to stay with Golden State, or get another Free Agent to add to their roster.

      If I were Cleveland I would be in no rush, and I’d let Minny come to me. Let them sweat a little bit as they get closer to February, then offer them a deal WITHOUT Wiggins. Cleveland has to realize that now THEY are the destination where people want to be, and they can’t think in the old way of “no one wants to come to Cleveland”. They need to stay tough at the bargaining table!

      • redbaronx - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        @peopletrains – I forgot to mention that Cleveland management should communicate that strategy I laid out to LeBron and get him on board, because Cleveland has to do what LeBron wants, so they need him to buy into that tough negotiating stance.

      • madnova - Jul 18, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        Just curious, where is this record of Love saying he would sign a contract extension with Cleveland? There was a Stein tweet of a “source close to the situation” that said Love would be “intrigued” and sign an extension–which is different from Love himself saying that. Especially since signing an extension is just a bad financial move the way the CBA is right now. Opting in for a second year is another thing altogether, which I would think would be a requirement any team interested in him would hold as a dealbreaker.

      • redbaronx - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        @madnova – Players never talk about what they’re willing to do directly through the media. That is rare. But when you get Love proxies saying that he’d sign an extension, you can be pretty sure that is the case. It also makes sense.

        However, you want to slice this, Love isn’t against going to Cleveland, which might actually be the case with Golden State.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:04 PM

        Plus where is all this cap space going to come from if love tries to walk to the cavs next year? Irving’s new contract kicks in next year at i’ve read either 16.5 mil or 19mil.

      • redbaronx - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:07 PM

        @bkbell3 – You can bet that if Cleveland is even talking about this, that they have the cap space in their calculations. They wouldn’t be talking about this if they didn’t have the cap space, and as for Wiggins and Bennett, they’re on their rookie contracts so that doesn’t count.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 19, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        redbaron, not sure what you mean that wiggins and bennet’s rookie contracts don’t count if the trade doesn’t go thru and love tries to walk to them next year. lbj is 22mil and love is 20mil and irving is at least 16mil and wiggins and bennet are over 5mil each. that’s over 68mil right there.

      • redbaronx - Jul 20, 2014 at 11:29 AM

        @bkbell3 – Your numbers are WAY off:
        1) LBJ is 20.6
        2) Kyrie Irving is 14.7
        3) Love is 15.7
        4) You can use the rookie exception to sign rookies (that’s what I was referring to
        5) Wiggins hasn’t signed a contract yet
        6) Those #’s “right there” are 51 million and still leave the Cavs with 12 million to play with as the cap is a little over 63mil. Since we all know the other players on the roster are pretty much garbage with the exception of Bennett and Dion Waiters, they have more than enough options to keep themselves under the cap, or exceed it a little.

        Again, the NBA cap is not a hard cap. It can be exceeded if they want to pay the luxury tax. Not that they need to get into the luxury cap as I just pointed out.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:53 PM

        red baron, they question was love walking to the cavs next year. Next year lbj=20.5 irving=15.5 bennet=5.8mil wiggins is arount 5mil or what ever 102% of his slot is, waiters=5mil if love opts in he is at 16.7mil that = 68.6 mil not counting millers 3mil player option or cap holds or qualifying offers. bennet and waiters are team options and tristen has a qualifying offer coming. If lbj opts out and none of the options are given or picked up then they only have 15.5 mil on the books before love and lbj new contract. I don’t understand what this rookie exceptions is that your talking about and what rookies you are referring to. And no, really, there is no hard cap and teams can exceed the cap to sign their own free agents? gee, who knew. Actually their is a hard cap if you recieve a player in a sign and trade or if you use your mid-level or bi-annual exception in that year. Also i was talking about love signing a new contract with the cavs which would pay him higher than 16.7. Numbers are from basketballinsiders.com

      • redbaronx - Jul 21, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        @bkbell3 – Look up Rookie Exception and cap rules. I’m done arguing this.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 20, 2014 at 10:54 PM

        Sorry wiggins with get 120% of his rookie slop not 102%

  2. weaselpuppy - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    With Rubio, Brewer and Deng, adding Wiggins would make them an extra long , elite level defensive team with a ton of athleticism with the above and Levine, GRobIII and Shabazz…that’s a great base to start from….adding Thompson does nothing but put them in late lottery limbo for 3 more years…

    • edavidberg - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:52 PM

      Levine was a nice pick. Lots of potential.

    • spursareold - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      Am I in an alternate dimension, or didn’t Deng sign in Miami?

      • redbaronx - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:24 PM

        @spursareold – That guy must have posted before the news about Deng. Deng is going to Miami.

    • realfootballfan - Jul 18, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      Yep, If the Timberwolved=s can pull this off, I take back anything bad I’ve ever said about Flip Saunders because he’ll be executive of the year.

    • helpingverbs - Jul 19, 2014 at 5:02 AM

      Klay T. should not even be pursued if there is a deal w/Cleveland. He is also on the last year of his contract and will ask for Max or leave next Summer anyway…then you get tagged with 2 years of a very expensive David Lee! Wiggins+ people is a better deal for the Wolves. Totally stupid to force Klay here when we have Wiggins on the cheap..amongst others.

  3. loungefly74 - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    I don’t get this at all from Minny. this must be a Jedi Mind-Trick.

  4. mvp43 - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    WHAT! is Rick Spielman running the Wolves front office too…..

  5. edavidberg - Jul 18, 2014 at 2:51 PM

    Minny is just trying to get Cleveland to throw in Waiters, Bennett or a pick.

    Honestly, Cleveland should consider calling their bluff … but regardless this deal should get done right away. Once Wiggins signs his deal I believe he can’t be traded for 30 days which would just set everyone back.

    • redbaronx - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      @edavidberg – You should see my post on this thread about this Minny business wanting Klay. I essentially said the same thing (i.e. calling their bluff) but got into a lot more detail. I think you’ll like the post.

  6. jvw1982 - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Great move by the Timberwolves, they don’t want Klay but they want more than just Wiggins…once they heard Lebron was calling the shots they figure why not see how bad Lebron wants Love….how about a couple of #1 while your at it lol…..this Lebron being the GM, coach and best player on the planet will hurt Cleveland in the long run, my over under is 50 games for when Lebron fires the new the coach and brings back Mike Brown lol

  7. elcapitan1019 - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:10 PM

    Whoever wrote the last paragraphs doesn’t know much about basketball, or business. Saunders has NO leverage unless he can get teams into a bidding war. Neither the Cavs nor the Warriors HAVE to make a trade, the Wolves will lose Love for nothing if he walks.

    And, rebuild through the draft? The only good players they drafted were TRADED, Brandon Roy and Trey Burke. I’d have NO confidence in the Wolves ability to draft. They have had top 10 lottery picks for the last 6 – 7 seasons and who do they have to show for it? Corey Brewer and that’s it. They got lucky, I guess even the worst front offices run into luck once in a blue moon, by trading Mayo, who they picked 3rd, for Love. Look at the others: Derrick Williams #2, gone; Wesley Johnson at #4, a stiff; Jonny Flynn at #6, not only gone but out of the league; in fact, if they had drafted Steph Curry instead of Flynn, there would be no story about Love, he’d be here. Imagine, they could have had a lineup of Rubio and Curry, Love, Pek, and Mbah A Moute.

    So, where does the logic of the author come from, certainly not history.

    • edavidberg - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      He has some leverage though. If one of the teams blinks and increases the offer they will get Love and probably sign him long term. Also, he could hold onto Love until the trading deadline which would make it harder for either team to contend next year due to the time they need to build chemistry.

    • hauts81 - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      The guy who drafted those stiffs and the coaches who couldn’t coax anything out of them are all gone. Flip has done pretty well in his first two drafts.

    • madnova - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:57 PM

      It’s interesting that you are showing no confidence in Flip based in large part on moves made by Kahn.

  8. jazz11001 - Jul 18, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    The wolves are actually trying to leverage Chicago. Wait for the sleeper to show up..Boston? Washington? Sac? where u at dog??

  9. jammer73 - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    What’s with the Deng bandwagon? The dudes a scrub behind Pek. People act as those he’s an up and coming Allstar, LOL!

  10. seasickcecil - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    In Lebrons letter the two young players he doesn’t mention are Wiggins and Bennett. Those two players will be the ones in the deal.

    • campcouch - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      probably because he didn’t know either. Wiggins was just drafted and I’m not even sure he knew what Bennett looked like. Reading too much into it.

  11. seasickcecil - Jul 18, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    The latest: http://es.pn/1zRYp13

  12. sportsfan18 - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Someone help explain this one to me please.

    Klay, good, could be very good, but wants a long term high dollar deal soon by whichever team he ends up on.

    Wiggins, enormous potential and under team control for up to 7 yrs with the first 4 yrs being cheap.

    And a team wants the player closer to big bucks with the much lower ceiling?

    Anyone else think he’s simply trying to frighten the Cavs and Lebron and just wants to see how much he may get them to sweeten their offer beyond Wiggins?

    • redbaronx - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:29 PM

      @sportsfan18 – See my post on this whole Klay deal in this thread and get back to me. Tell me what you think. I think I’ve laid out a good case for the Cavs to wait out Minny.

      • sportsfan18 - Jul 18, 2014 at 7:37 PM

        red

        yeah, it’s known and if they keep it out there that LBJ WANTS Love says he’ll only resign in Cleveland then other teams will be shy trading for him knowing he could simply go to Cleveland next summer anyway.

        players have a lot of control in this nowadays

      • redbaronx - Jul 19, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        @sportsfan18 – Exactly! That’s why Cleveland should be negotiating from a position of strength. It kills me to see them offering Wiggins and today in the news, Bennett. I think they’re really shooting themselves in the foot. As usual….

        Minny would be crazy not to take Wiggins AND Bennett.

    • madnova - Jul 18, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      Bear in mind that Klay Thompson isn’t the whole deal, but part of it, with the other likely pieces wanted by the Wolves being Lee and Barnes.

      My concern with that is that Klay could pull a Love next offseason, Lee hits free agency, and the Wolves could wind up just with Barnes and whatever they could spin Klay for.

      • kvt7280 - Jul 18, 2014 at 6:57 PM

        Lee has two more years so “IF” he gets traded to anyone, they’ll take on his salary for 2015 and 2016. If it was just for 2015, a lot of team would be willing to take his one year contract and dump it after the season.

      • bkbell3 - Jul 19, 2014 at 3:48 AM

        klay, 13.9 career per 14.4 last year on 43% shooting and 40% from the three on trick pony volumn shooter who could get better and wants a max contract when time comes. Why the hype?

  13. pillsbury13 - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    So the Warriors fire a coach that had back-to-back winning seasons and playoff appearances when the team had TWO winning seasons in the SEVENTEEN years prior. Now they don’t want to give up a shooter, albeit a really good one, for a guy that averaged 26pts and 12 rebounds….When did Jerry Jones become the owner of the Warriors????

  14. redbaronx - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:10 PM

    Nice try Minnesota! Either management is stupid there (…and I refuse to believe Flip Saunders would ever think that), or they’re trying to throw off the Cavs by proclaiming their love for Klay Thompson, and get the Cavs to offer more.

    But my first reaction to Minny prefering Klay Thompson over Wiggins? YEAH Riiiiiiiiiiiight! I think Minny Management all had their noses grow just a little bit longer today.

  15. jammer73 - Jul 18, 2014 at 5:30 PM

    LOL, Mbah A Moute is a stiff buddy. In no scenario would he be a starter. Great basketball mind dude.

  16. kvt7280 - Jul 18, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Klay is more willing to sign extension no matter what team he does to, so he won’t jump boat like Kevin Love even if they suck.Klay since his rookie year has improved every year and defense is improving. Wiggins is a boom or bust athlete because he hasn’t played against elite talent yet. Playing in the Summer League is like playing in the minors, no superstars.

  17. joeyb3878 - Jul 18, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Wolves should get everything they can from Cleveland, starting with Wiggins. The Cavs and GM James need to realize they can’t have their cake and eat it too.

  18. chief0727 - Jul 19, 2014 at 2:39 AM

    This story is based on so many rumors and innuendo’s it crazy. First, the Cavs have never acknowledged they have offered Wiggins. In fact as recently as the other day they publicly stated Wiggins was not being traded. Second, I think people are giving Flip Saunders way to much credit here. Multiple players are being discussed, not because Flip is a brilliant General Manager, but because NBA rules require the salaries to match. Even if Wiggins is allegedly being offered, he only makes 4 million. Love is getting around 14 to 15 million. That would explain why Bennet would be involved. A Cleveland reporter stated that to aquire Love the Cavs would have to send back about 11.5 million in salaries. Also, Love has NEVER publicly stated he would resign with the Cavs. Broussard reported a “source” said Love would resign. Considering Broussard was wrong more than right with all the false rumors about LeBron’s free agency, I would take this with a grain of salt.
    Is it just me or does it appear that Saunders is going to screw this up big time. I’m guessing all these rumors are coming from Minnesotta’s front office. I can see the Cavs and Warriors both telling Saunders to go jump in a lake. The when January rolls around, Saunders will be lucky to get bench players and a bag of balls from either Golden State or Cleveland. It wouldn’t surprise me if Love played out the season in Minnesotta and left as a free agent with Minnesotta getting nothing in return.

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