With the pieces of the Kevin Love trade on the verge of becoming official, we can finally begin to think about what this deal means for some of the less-publicized parties involved. We know what it signifies for the Cavaliers, who will acquire their second superstar of the offseason to go with a promising young point guard in Kyrie Irving. I think we can all agree that morphing from the team drafting first in June into the NBA favorite by August is an A-plus offseason any way you slice it.
But how did Minnesota make out in this deal? When all the dust settles on this three-way trade — assuming it’s finalized as is currently being reported — the Timberwolves will have ultimately moved Love, Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and Thaddeus Young. According to Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press (via Twitter), it’s hard to imagine team president Flip Saunders could have acquired a better package for a star player he was probably a year away from losing for nothing. Do you agree?
History has shown us that trading superstars in their prime is risky business in the NBA. Sometimes the package is led by one prized asset and ancillary pieces with upside, as was the case in the deals for Charles Barkley (Jeff Hornacek), Ray Allen (Jeff Green), Kevin Garnett (Al Jefferson) and Chris Paul (Eric Gordon). Other times we see star-for-star swaps, like Tracy McGrady for Steve Francis or Jason Kidd for Stephon Marbury. And occasionally teams are forced to trade their studs for pennies on the dollar, as we saw with Shaquille O’Neal (traded to the Heat) and Vince Carter (traded to the Nets).
What we don’t usually see is a fair return for a superstar player — if it even exists — which leads us back to Minnesota’s haul for Love. In Wiggins, the Wolves will land the first overall pick in a loaded draft before he plays a minute in a regular season NBA game. In Bennett, they’ll land a guy who is a year removed from also being selected at the top of the draft. And finally, in Young, they’ll land a veteran who seems destined to be a tremendous role player on a contender.
With all of that in consideration, what grade would you assign Saunders and the Timberwolves for the Love deal? Feel free to justify your grade in the comments section.