The San Antonio Spurs' destruction of the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals led to an extended period between the playoffs and the draft. Unsurprisingly, the void has been filled by plenty of trade talk as teams continue planning for next season.
Now the biggest question is whether there will be any blockbusters in the near future or if teams will decide to see how the draft plays out first. The prospects available at certain points of the round could determine whether a team is willing to make the deal, adding some extra drama to draft night.
Front offices probably prefer to have most things settled before free agency begins so they can have a clear plan of attack once the market opens. So let's check out some of the latest trade buzz making its way around the league and examine the potential impact.
Love is the most coveted trade target available. He ranked third in the NBA in player efficiency rating last season behind only Kevin Durant and LeBron James, according to ESPN. Whether any team is willing to move enough pieces to convince the Minnesota Timberwolves to make a deal is up in the air.
Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Golden State Warriors are emerging as the team to watch in the Love sweepstakes. They have plenty of talent on the roster, but the front office is debating whether to go all-in on a move for the power forward:
The Minnesota Timberwolves are seeking a future first-round pick from the Golden State Warriors in addition to the rights to prized marksman Klay Thompson in Kevin Love trade talks, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that the Warriors, while they covet Love greatly, have been weighing internally whether they're prepared to give up two such assets in addition to former All-Star forward David Lee for Love and Wolves swingman Kevin Martin.
Trade rumors are nothing new to Love, who's been the focus on interest in the past. Nick Solari of NESN passed along comments the double-double machine made on SportsNation about wanting to win above everything else:
No matter what the outcome is, I just want to end up in a great place where I can win. At the end of the day, I've played six years, haven't made the playoffs yet, that burns me and hurts my heart, so I really want to be playing.
The key for the Warriors is figuring out whether they believe it's possible to build a strong enough team around Love and Stephen Curry if they give up several assets to make the deal. There would definitely be risk involved, but the potential reward is an NBA title.
Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green
Which player is most likely to get dealt?
The Boston Celtics are another team interested in Love. He would represent the cornerstone the rebuilding franchise has been seeking and quicken the process of getting back into contention. On the surface it seems like they might be falling behind, though.
Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports missing out on Love could end up having a serious trickle-down effect on the roster. He states Rondo and Green could both be moved if it turns out the roster retooling doesn't get a major boost like Love this summer:
If the Celtics cannot get Love, they are planning to continue with the longer and more methodical rebuilding process, a process that would likely see Rajon Rondo traded. (An NBA source said they would also have a taker for Jeff Green if they chose to move him.)
Bottoming out isn't usually a process that a fanbase embraces, even though it does improve the long-term outlook. So it's no surprise the Celtics are trying to add a superstar to slightly alter the course. If they don't get Love or another big name, then a complete rebuild is the right way to go.
Thomas took a major step forward in his third NBA season. He was handed a more prominent role by the Sacramento Kings and responded by averaging 20 points and six assists. The point guard was also the team's most reliable outside shooter.
Due to that success, it's a surprise to see his name mentioned in the rumor mill, but that's the case. Jake Fischer of the Boston Globe reports Thomas has emerged as a potential sign-and-trade asset as a restricted free agent this offseason:
Per multiple sources, Sacramento Kings' front office is split on moving forward with Isaiah Thomas at PG, has engaged in prelim trade talks.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 18, 2014
It's unclear what certain members of the Sacramento front office have seen that would lead them to push for a trade, but they would be selling high after his breakout season. Finding someone to replace him at the point would be a tough task, though. The Kings should and probably will keep him in the end.