2013 NBA Draft, 2013 Offseason, Transactions

Here's a funny trade offer: Cavs offered Thompson, Waiters, and No. 1 for Kevin Love


There are going to be a lot of absurd Kevin Love trade ideas over the next few months because I’ve found that people are usually slow to hop on what’s current. Look at Twitter. Twitter was around for a couple of years before people really latched on to it and accepted it as a reality in the social media world. Now? Everybody and their grandmas seem to be tweeting, we’ve got the social media platform in video games, and there seem to be very few people that don’t understand what is going on with Twitter.

I think we’re going to be that way with the Kevin Love trade rumors/offers for a little while. With David Kahn gone, Kevin Love no longer hates the team’s management. I don’t know if he likes Flip Saunders, but I know he doesn’t have contempt for him. Saunders is showing him respect and showing him that he’s the most important part of this franchise moving forward. These were never opinions David Kahn seemed to publicly show Kevin and certainly didn’t show him when he tried to trade him multiple times and insulted him multiples times during contract negotiations over his extension. Considering Love doesn’t have this saturating animosity toward Wolves’ management anymore, it seems unlikely he’ll request a trade any time soon.

That’s not going to stop teams from trying to trade for Love and really they shouldn’t stop trying. ESPN.com’s Andy Katz is reporting that the Cavaliers offered up Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, and the No. 1 pick in the draft in exchange for Love. 

But the Cavs are also exploring trading the top pick since they’re not in love with any one player who in a “normal” year wouldn’t be a top pick. According to a source, Cleveland offered the No. 1 pick, Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters to try and land Minnesota’s Kevin Love. But new Timberwolves president Flip Saunders won’t move Love.

The Cavs are fond of Thompson and Waiters — the latter being one of the top six rookies last season — but Cleveland would love to get an All-Star forward to pair with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.

I have many thoughts about this. I’ll try to organize them but expect a lot of incoherency. First of all, my reaction to the trade offer:


Now let’s go over a few things.

The Trade Offer Itself

Is there anything wrong with the offer the Cavs are throwing the Wolves’ way? I mean, it’s not nearly enough for Kevin Love. Love is one of the 15 best players in the league, if not better. Thompson is a role player, Waiters is a disastrous role player after his rookie season, and the No. 1 pick in this draft will yield a non-franchise player. Yes, Love had the worst season of his career, missed 3/4 of the season due to breaking his hand twice, and put pressure on the organization in an immature way multiple times over the previous year, but even with those specifics in his past, Love is worth a lot more than those three assets. The Cavs know it but had to try because you do your due diligence. More importantly, Flip Saunders and the Wolves know it.

The Cavs’ fan response has been pretty universal: it’s not a laughable trade because we don’t know how these guys are valued around the league. That has some validity but you’re no longer dealing with David Kahn here. Sure, you had to take a swing just to see what the response would be but the value is pretty one-sided in this affair. Let me explain.

Recently, we discussed the idea of the Wolves trading for MarShon Brooks of the Brooklyn Nets. If you thought the Wolves would want an inefficient gunner who can’t hit 3-pointers with MarShon, well wait until you get a look at Dion Waiters! No, seriously. Take a look at the comparison between Dion Waiters’ rookie year and what MarShon Brooks did in his first two seasons. It’s i-dentical.


The benefit here would be paying Dion Waiters more to play the same style of basketball you don’t think fits with what Rick Adelman preaches on offense and defense, but he’s a few years younger than MarShon Brooks. If you want a player like Waiters that badly, why wouldn’t you just trade the 26th pick to the Nets for Brooks?

As for Tristan Thompson, I thought he made some big strides in his second year. In his first year, he looked like another version of Joel Anthony and I’m not just saying that because they’re both Canadian centers that have melting butter sticks for fingers. Neither looked comfortable with the ball when they caught it. In year two for Thompson, he started rebounding the hell out of the basketball and making a decent percentage of his shots (from 43.9% to 48.8%). The talk that taking him over Jonas Valanciunas could now be challenged because it looks like Tristan Thompson was now capable of catching a basketball and doing things with it when he did.

However, I want you to look at his two seasons compared to somebody else — our friend Derrick Williams. Notice some similarities in their respective numbers after two seasons? They score about the same. They pass about the same. Thompson is a much better rebounder while Williams can knock down jumpers from outside and free throws. Williams, amazingly, is actually a better defender than Thompson too. He’s compiled more defensive win shares and he gave up an opponent PER of 14.0 at the power forward position last season, while Thompson gave up a 16.6. Would you really be getting a much different player than Williams?

And in case you were wondering about their respective abilities to finish around the basket, Thompson made 58.8% of his shots at the rim his rookie season and 62.4% in his second season. Williams has made 63.3% and 63.5% of his shots at the rim, respectively. Yes, the same Derrick Williams that frustrates fans with his inconsistency finishing around the basket is actually better at it than Thompson. I don’t know who will end up being the better player between the two, but I do feel confident in saying they’re pretty much equals at this point.

Then it comes down to the No. 1 pick in the draft. If this was magically for the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, I’d do this trade in a heartbeat because Andrew Wiggins might not end up being the next great thing, but it would be worth a shot. This draft, you’re looking at Nerlens Noel, Victor Oladipo, Alex Len (I’m sorry, even Michael Olowokandi is laughing hysterically at that idea) or Otto Porter with the first pick in the draft. Whether you believe Kevin Love can be a franchise guy or the best player on a title contending team or not, I think we can all agree none of those guys are. And furthermore, those guys only look like good ideas on this roster if you already have Love there.

You can try spinning this deal as three lottery picks with potential for Love, but I’ll take the sure thing that we know is already a really good player, an All-Star, an All-NBA guy, and one of the 10-15 best players in the NBA depending on how you judge it. It’s a nice attempt at an offer, but it’s nothing the Wolves should ever consider. Flip Saunders was right to reject it. Speaking of…

Flip Saunders Tweeting

Flip Saunders tweeted out this little gem a short while after the “story” broke about the “trade proposal,” assuming it actually happened.

There was this weird instant backlash about Flip including an “lol” in his tweet. I’m not quite sure how I feel about Flip being on Twitter. On the one hand, this is becoming much more of a regular thing. Daryl Morey has been spouting half-truths and giving little interesting tidbits on Twitter for years. Now that John Hollinger is helping run the Memphis Grizzlies, he’s another decision-maker running a team and live-tweeting events. Having your president, VP, or GM on Twitter is going to be a normal thing in a few years, assuming we still have Twitter.

Flip has been very interesting during the draft process, giving information about workouts and prospects. He’s also been oddly quiet about certain guys at weird times, clearly showing he has interest in that guy. I don’t know if Flip being vocal and honest on Twitter is a good or bad thing, but to be weirded out by him dropping a “laugh out loud” seemed a little forced. But maybe that’s a discussion for another time.

The Idea of Kevin Love and the Wolves Moving Forward

Kevin Love is going to opt out in 2015. How does that make you feel?

Are you panicked because of this? Are you worried that we’re not good enough? Are you afraid that Kevin Love is going to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015? When David Kahn was still around and making decisions or partial decisions for this team, I felt nervous about Love leaving. I still figured the Wolves have the upper hand and could ultimately carve out their own destiny with this situation, but having Kahn just spoiled the livestock.

But with him gone and Flip clearly working on building an amicable and close relationship with Love, I don’t feel worried about it anymore. I don’t think the Wolves have to even entertain the thought of trading him for the next year and a half. Sure, there’s the idea that you get out ahead of it now and try to maximize your return (sorry, Cleveland, but that ain’t it) like the Utah Jazz did with Deron Williams. But I kind of have this crazy thought about the whole Kevin Love-2015 situation.

Now hear me out.

What if this team is good and he stays? I’ll wait for everybody to pick their jaws up off the ground and continue reading.

Love is going to opt out because he’s smart and his agent is smart. It would be really stupid for Kevin Love to not opt out of his current deal in 2015. And in 2015, he’ll probably sign another three-year deal because in 2016 the television rights go up for auction (and I’m betting they at least double the current deal) and in 2017, we’re going to have another lockout. It will give Love one year of max security before he gets to take advantage of the new revenue the league brings in and the bigger contracts that brings in for star players.

But just because he opts out in 2015 doesn’t mean he’s leaving. It just doesn’t. He had a horrible relationship with Kahn that made him believe he doesn’t want to be here if Kahn is around. Instead, he has teammates that he loves, he has a coach that he respects more than anybody (although we have no clue if he’ll even entertain coaching still in 2015), and believe or not, he actually likes this town and the fans. I know that’s not the sexy, dramatic story some people want it to be, but that’s the case.

Until it looks like they might actually start have to worry about losing him, I’m going to sit back and laugh whenever someone tells me that Love is going to bolt when he can opt out. Unless you’re friends with Love, his agent, or Flip Saunders, any definitive talk involving “what ifs” the result in Love fleeing from this team just makes me flip the question back in the other direction. Then we circle each other like dogs trying to sniff each other’s butts and that’s not a very productive way for humans to interact.

For now, Love is going to be involved in rumors and they’re just that — rumors. They mean nothing and it’s usually people trying to drum up interest or convince themselves their dead-ass team is still moving in the right direction. Let’s have fun on Thursday and enjoy the draft.

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24 thoughts on “Here's a funny trade offer: Cavs offered Thompson, Waiters, and No. 1 for Kevin Love

  1. #1 #19 #31 Future #1 Waiters Thompson Zeller Varejao for Love and Barea?

    Flip (No pun intended) some of those assets for something else.

    Do you take that?

  2. Eric, I would not take that. At a certain point, you’re just becoming the Cavaliers and trying to flip assets for an established All-Star, All-NBA type talent, which they already have in Kevin Love.

    In the words of Jason Kidd, you’re turning the direction of this team around 360 degrees.

  3. Why did you spend so much time and effort acting insulted that a crappy team sent your crappy team a crappy trade offer? I am sure that GM’s do this all the time, I agree that Love is a talent but lets not go crazy he is the best player on a team that hasn’t reached the Playoffs once in the the 5 years he has been there, he has had 1 season out of 5 in which he started more than 55 games, so yes by the stats he is a talent but not such an elite player that he can carry his team into the playoffs or that you can look down your noses and act insulted about another teams trade offer, how about this, rather than mocking the failed efforts of others to get your only star player why don’t you research how to get your team out of the Lottery and into some meaningful games in late spring / early summer.

    As for the whole don’t worry about him opting out…just ask Cleveland, Toronto, Denver, and Orlando how that worked out with their last superstars, but your probably right Love would never leave to chase a silly championship when there are so many Lakes in Minnesota to see and explore. Take a look at the Jazz and Deron Williams, always trade a year too soon rather than a Year to late.

  4. I don’t blame Flip for rejecting the trade, but he could really regret not taking it within a year. Waiters has his warts but he improved as the season went aling and he can get go rim better than anyone on the Wolves. Thompson improved greatly in a year and you could grab Porter or Noel at #1. Those three picks make less than Love and for all of his senior superlatives Love hasn’t made the playoffs in his five seasons and making it next year isn’t assured. They don’t make the playoffs next year and he’s gone a year later.

  5. I would stay put. Love is too valuable for the teams future. They need a SG and a big man inside to back up Love and Pek. I think Flip wants to see what a healthy squad can do and if the ship still sinks, look for some trade deadline moves. I think you wait for the draft and if Mclemore or Olidipo slip, make a trade with Phoenix and send Williams to his old stomping grounds for one of the two. Monta Ellis will be a FA. He would look nice in a Wolves uni.

  6. Good stuff, Zach.

    I, for one, do not want to become the Cavs in a massive flip of assets. With Flip back in town, it really feels like our luck is about to turn- finally a draft with depth where we need it and have picks: SG at the top, project big men later on. So why would we go out of our way to mess that up? Really excited for Thursday, then I’ll be excited to see how this roster fills itself out (Pek, AK, Bud). Lots to look forward to this year and I just don’t think Flip is going to go out of his way to screw it up by doing anything we’ve heard rumored.

  7. I agree that staying put is the best option, but I don’t think this offer is as preposterous as some have made it out to be. If the Wolves hypothetically made this deal and took someone like Otto Porter they go into next year with a core of Rubio, Waiters, Porter, Thompson, Pek. At that point you’ll still have no idea what you’re getting from Waiters, Porter, and Thompson, and any long term success would rely on Rubio blossoming into a star and at least one of those other guys developing into a fringe all star which may be unlikely. Ideally Kirilenko opts out and they can bring him back on something like 3 years 18-21 million to open up some room to sign Pek.

    Like I said I would not do this trade, but if all signs pointed to Love jumping ship (which they don’t) it would be worth considering this trade or some form of it.

    Ultimately, like some have said before, you may be trading a dollar for change, but at the end of the day you would still rather have the dollar.

  8. Jeff, it’s weird but some people like writing about stuff. And I got to get thoughts out about a bunch of stuff without having to write multiple posts.

    As far as your assertions about Love, he’s been on two teams that have looked like playoff teams before injuries ravaged their lineup and depth. In 2012, Rubio went down, Love and Pek had injuries and there wasn’t any kind of depth to handle the blow. In 2013, Love missed 3/4 of the season, Pek and AK and Rubio all missed significant time, and there were days in which having 9 healthy guys was progress. If you want to classify those missed postseasons so casually, that’s fine but it’s inaccurate in context. A game of semantics won’t work here.

    Go look at the roster for his other three years. Tell me a 22-year old power forward with a GM trying to trade him because the previous guy drafted him and therefore battling the coach about playing him too much is supposed to lift those crappy teams to the playoffs.

    You’re right, he hasn’t started a ton. A lot of that is a pissing contest with David Kahn trying to get him out of town and limit his minutes in his first two years, then he had his breakout season, then he started 55 games… and here’s the important part of you playing with the numbers here… IN A LOCKOUT-SHORTENED SEASON. That was the equivalent of starting 68 games in a regular season. It’s not 82, but it’s not the 55 you cleverly tried to slide in there.

    As for “researching” how the team won’t be in the lottery anymore, you certainly don’t do it by trading your best player, one of the better big men in the league recognized by most people outside of Portland, for three roles players.

  9. Cory, Dion Waiters literally had one good month last season. The rest of the year, he shot 42.6% from the field or lower. The thing people love to say about young guys is “you don’t know what he’s going to be.” We heard that about Darko Milicic, Michael Beasley, and Anthony Randolph. We’ll hear that about a lot of other lottery picks that don’t pan out. Waiters can get to the basket but his form at the rim is sloppy. He’s a streak shooter that usually streaks in the wrong direction. He CAN get better, but he’s not going to ever be as good as Kevin Love’s value.

    That’s why this trade offer is preposterous. The value you get in return just simply isn’t enough. I don’t expect dollar for dollar value when trading your best player, but I expect more than a 50-cent return.

  10. Monta Ellis would look good in a Wolves uniform if I liked a team that wasn’t the Wolves. He’s not good. He’s talented but he’s not good.

  11. Speaking of the media creating a story out of nothing, remember when ESPN created the Rubio to the Knicks story immediately following the Wolves picking him at #5? The Wolves had all the leverage over Rubio’s future in the NBA, but ESPN and the east coast media created a narrative in which Ricky Rubio demanded to play in a big market and the Wolves had no choice but to trade him to the Knicks (who at the time had ZERO valuable trade assets to our franchise). It was laughable and ran all over the front page of ESPN for days after the draft. The uneducated fan who didn’t understand the terms of international players drafted in the lottery ate up the story like candy.

  12. I was not a fan of the trade offer, but I would like it more with Waiters going to a third team with something else coming back. Then you have a backcourt of Rubio, Olidipo, and KCP as a 6th man volume scorer. Sometime go with all 3 in small ball. but as much as I like the look of that backcourt, I like Love more.

  13. I like the number one pick and actually think Noel (if he develops a decent 15-18 ft jump shot) could be a great pairing with Pekovic. I think Waiters is the wrong pairing with rubio because he is penetrator like Rubio and not a shooter type of 2 and Thompson and Williams and Noel all play the same position. I think another team that has different pieces to offer would be interesting. Washington has Bradley Beal and the third pick which would not be enough, but if they could either take a bad contract or two of the Wolves or engage in third party for a third piece for the Wolves would at least be interesting.

  14. Are you happy if AK opts in or are you not? Another great Kahn move to give him until AFTER THE DRAFT to decide. On one hand, he did a lot for us last year and when needed he can still be a defensive force. On the other hand, $10M is pretty fun to play with, especially after having to pay Pek. My favorite dream sequence involves s/t Pek, D. Will, Barea, and #26 for KG and PP. Then, let Adelman go to war for 2 years with KG, Love, AK, Pierce, Rubio, DC, Bud, and Luke (#9 pick (KCP most likely), then scrap heap and cheap low yr contracts for 1 big and bench), then rebuild around Love, Rubio, and #9 pick and a ton of cap space in 2 years (and likely a new coach – Flip?).

  15. This article basically described my feelings on the trade to the T. Yes at a glance you are very intrigued my thoughts were something like “OMG we would finally get to make the Number 1 overall selection in the draft..YAY, this might never happen again” But then you start thinking..at the number 1 pick have no chance at getting a guy like Love. And if we made the trade at best we would be 2 years from the playoffs, with love we are capable of making it this upcoming year if the team stays healthy IF!!!!!! Our lineup after the trade would be
    Thompson-No. 9
    Pek- No. 1

    Not accepting the Love deal
    Budinger-Shved- MLE free agent (just putting in 3rd cause i have no idea who it could be)
    Kirlenko-Cunningham-No. 9 overall pick. (because there isn’t enough room at the SG slot)
    Pek-no. 26 pick

  16. UNREAL gif of that scene in my cousin vinny. That i-dentical clap is used frequently among my friends and I.

    I will be at the draft tomorrow and hopefully see Olidipo,,KCP or CJ put on a wolves hat first hand. I will be in my Rubio whites and wolf hat like i am every year – look out for your boy!!


  17. Outsider looking in here.

    You overrate Kevin Love. I really like him, but how far can he take Rubio/Pek etc? Not very. If i was the TWolves i would break it up (with the exception of Rubio) gather picks and tank for next year.

    There is ZERO evidence Kevin Love can take you to the playoffs, let alone through a round or two. Break up now from a position of strength.

  18. Let’s assume Love is moving on in 2015. That just has to be the base for any discussions. That means, yes, you will field several trade offers in the years to come. And let’s also assume Minneapolis remains in its exact geographic location. (Fair assumption.) OK, so now we know the Wolves are not about to become a destination for free agents even with the great Spanish Wizard at the point.

    Here’s why I would’ve pulled the trigger on this trade:

    -Tristan Thompson has the ability to be a very strong power forward — a 15 ppg, 10 rpg guy. You can live with that. He’s only going to get better.

    -Dion Waiters would start for the Wolves right now, but that isn’t saying much.

    -Let’s assume the Wolves turn the No. 1 pick into Victor Oladipo, then take Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at No. 9. Suddenly, you’ve got a very athletic group of guards with some ability to play the three.

    -No. 26 turns into an off-the-bench scorer like Tony Mitchell, Reggie Bullock or Nate Wolters. Great.

    -With all of the rookie contracts on roster — and more importantly, Love’s off the books — you have the money to re-sign Nikola Pekovic, Chase Budinger and Andrei Kirilenko (if he’s willing to return).

    Are you headed to the playoffs next season?

    Maybe. Maybe not. I think it’s an improvement from last year’s squad with great potential for growth.

    Are you headed back to the lottery next year?


    1. I’m not sure why we would make that assumption. Since top-10 players are a successful team’s bread and butter, it makes no sense to simply give one away for a bunch of role players without making every effort to sign him. And yes, Thompson and Waiters are role players.

  19. You don’t plan for the worst case scenario now when it doesn’t happen for two years. You do everything you can in those two years to make sure that worst case scenario doesn’t happen. You don’t say, “Well Love could leave in two years so we should deal him now when all we know is that he is happy with the direction of the team and the city he plays in.” The trade would push back our making the playoffs by 2 years at best. Ricky and Pek are not good enough to carry a team full of role players to the playoffs. You could also guarantee AK opting out with the departure of Love because we lose our probable playoff status and he can go elsewhere for a better shot at playing on a good team. I think the people who say that we should have done this trade way overrate the Cavaliers’ players and undervalue Love. There is a reason they have the #1 pick in the draft and it has quite a bit to do with the fact that Thompson and Waiters aren’t good enough supporting players yet to create a playoff team. I don’t see how you expect them to turn us into a playoff team when we would be trading away the player they are supposed to be supporting in the first place. We go from 1 star to no stars and force Ricky to be the man when he doesn’t have the offensive ability to be that guy at this point in his career. Ricky still has a lot to develop before he becomes an all-star caliber player and Pek will never be an all-star. You don’t trade away the top level talent until you absolutely have to and then you can still get a good return. Look at the Magic. They got rid of Dwight and got some promising players in return. That kind of return will be just as available in two years as it is now because nobody in this draft would be a #1 pick in a normal year. Why trade him now when we can keep him, win and increase our chances of keeping him in 2015? Some of you are giving up early on a star when all you have to do is look at the Thunder to realize it is better to cross that bridge when you come to it as opposed to trying to get ahead of the curve.

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