Kevin Love might be on his way out of Minnesota. No, stop, I'm actually serious this time.
The impasse between Love and the Timberwolves appears to have reached a point of no return. The NBA draft is approaching, and by the sounds of things, the three-time All-Star is no closer to committing his long-term future to the organization.
With the 2014 draft a week away, Minnesota knows it has to act fast, and as a result, a very real trade scenario has come to the fore.
ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that the Timberwolves would send Kevin Love, Kevin Martin, J.J. Barea and the 13th overall pick to the Golden State Warriors for Klay Thompson and David Lee:
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that a deal isn't close and very fluid:
Sam Amick of USA Today shed some light on what's going on behind the scenes:
Trading a superstar is never easy. The fans won't be happy to see the team's best player leave, and getting back fair value is nearly impossible. Throughout sports history, rarely have both teams come out the better when an All-Star is involved.
Still, the T-Wolves know that they risk losing Love at the end of next year for nothing. As long as they can get something back, it's not the end of the world.
Even with that in mind, this is a surprisingly bad trade from a Timberwolves perspective. SB Nation's Mike Prada broke down the points of contention:
Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer thought this was all an indictment of Flip Saunders as a general manager:
If you exclude the draft pick, Minnesota is giving up one of the league's premier 4s for Lee and Thompson.
You know what you're getting with Lee. He'll crash the boards and score inside. His value is somewhat tempered by the fact that he's making $15-plus million this year and next. Lee has one of the more unwieldy contracts throughout the league.
Thompson, meanwhile, is a promising, young three-point shooter, which is something Minnesota certainly needs. However, he's nowhere near a star-caliber player to this point. Love is almost certainly better right now than Thompson will be down the road. After all, the two are apart in age by just a year.
The 24-year-old is also in line for a new contract soon. If he does ask for max money, that's paying a lot to a player who arguably hasn't earned a max deal quite yet. The Timberwolves would be gambling a lot of their future on the Warriors guard.
Packaging Lee and Thompson together for a deal involving Love is a good start rather than a destination. If anything, the nature of Lee's contract cancels out some of the value in adding Thompson.
Fans in Minnesota likely knew the team's future would look a little bleak for the immediate future, but they might not have envisioned a situation like this.