Kevin Love wants out of Minnesota, and he is comfortable with the Golden State Warriors as a potential trade destination. The Dubs feel that Love is that special piece to vault the team into a realistic title threat.
The desired move will cost the Warriors some quality pieces to acquire the perennial All-Star. If the Minnesota Timberwolves’ majority owner, Glen Taylor, changes his mind and entices clubs to enter the sweepstakes, the Dubs will have to pay a premium.
But the Warriors will be aggressive, as evidenced by this tweet from Eye On Basketball:
Early rumors floating around have the Warriors giving up David Lee and Harrison Barnes to acquire Love. But the Warriors are limited in the draft picks they can use as enhancers, so in order to make the deal, they will have to ship Klay Thompson as part of the package.
Now, it is getting real for Warriors’ fan. The team is making such a dramatic rise in the past few years, but would the new team be better than the current roster?
Using ESPN’s trade machine, the Warriors would give up Barnes, Lee and Thompson for Love and SG Kevin Martin. Hollinger's instant analysis gives the Dubs nine more wins as a result.
Love the Spacing
Steve Kerr wants to run an offense similar to the San Antonio Spurs with a lot of weak-side ball movement and an up-tempo style similar to the Phoenix Suns during the time he was their general manager from 2007-10.
Spacing is the key ingredient in this style of play, and Coach Kerr wants a stretch 4 to solidify that style. By acquiring Kevin Love, Kerr will have one of the best stretch 4’s to space out the floor and give even more opportunity to Stephen Curry.
Love creates matchup problems because he is very agile, can bring down a lot of boards and he is a solid assister. He is a very difficult player to guard.
In this video, Love creates the game-winning shot out of nothing.
Love’s line this season was very solid with 26.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 4.4 APG. He sank 37.6 percent of his 505 attempts behind the arc.
By being able to draw defenders out, Love creates more room for potential teammates like Curry, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green to have open shots. If the Warriors want to advance past the second round, they will need an extra advantage.
The biggest key, when it comes to playoff time, is that Dubs wouldn’t have to rely on being a primarily jump-shooting team. Love brings the inside game that the team hasn’t relied upon enough.
By having both an inside and outside game, which Love can play parts in both, the Warriors could now compete with the likes of the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder in being at the top of the conference.
The Warriors offense also relied too often last season on the isolation play, but on occasion, Love would be more successful with the occasional one-on-one matchup. He should also be a key ingredient in the Curry pick-and-roll.
The Dubs ranked 12th in offensive efficiency (number of points scored per 100 possessions) this season. With the addition of Love, the Warriors should finish in the top 10 next season.
Defense is Key
Love is a mediocre defender, but he is better than Lee, who he would be replacing. The key loss in this trade is Thompson, who has turned into one of the better defending shooting guards in the league.
If Martin is the chip coming to the Dubs from Minnesota, he brings a subpar defensive game that offsets his offensive prowess. The team, which ranked third in defensive efficiency last season, will have a difficult time keeping such a high slot.
Coach Kerr hasn’t really defined his defensive strategies so far, but he will need to hire a solid assistant coach to focus on this substantial area. Kerr and the assistant can work on honing Love’s defensive skills, including working on increasing the number of blocks from 0.5 per game to something more respectable.
Love is only 25 years old with six full seasons of experience. He has a very high basketball IQ, and it doesn’t hurt to be surrounded by two dominant defensive players in Bogut and Iguodala.
Bogut is a great teacher and is the one who barks out coverages to the team on the floor. If Love can improve his game and be someone who can consistently defend players like Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan and Blake Griffin, the Warriors would be a major player in the postseason.
Title or Bust
He sees the pieces that are out there, and this proposed acquisition would be his best opportunity to upgrade an already growing team into a title contender.
If the team has to give up both Thompson and Barnes for somebody who is already a top-tier power forward, it has to take that chance moving forward.
Only time will tell if this will be considered a great move. The salary cap will not be the Warriors’ friend, as the new starting five’s salary will be closer to $70 million with the addition of Love.
Add to that the Coach Kerr factor, where his adjustment timeline will now be at light speed to figure out how to take this talented team to the highest level.
This move will show the entire NBA that the Dubs are here to play with the big boys. Love will open up the offense to new heights and make it one of the most productive groups seen in a while.
The trade will also keep season-ticket demand high, as the Dubs transition into a new arena to start the 2018-19 NBA season.
He will give the team the necessary ammunition to match up against the likes of the top-four teams in the Western Conference and almost guarantee them a spot in that group for years to come.
However, the margin for error is extremely thin with the Warriors’ brass, and Lacob better be willing to put his money where his mouth is.
The Dubs are still a young and up-and-coming team, and it might take them a year or two to figure out how to climb each step of the ladder. In the end, this trade will give them the most realistic shot of hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.