Much like the NFL, there is no NBA offseason at this point. Rather, let's call it NBA rumor season instead, as contenders look to clone what the Miami Heat have been able to accomplish, and franchises in smaller markets look to cash in by selling top stars to the highest bidders.
Of course, those are not strict rules. Outliers exist, but it's hard to dial in too much on anything outside of the top names. Minnesota seems adamant about getting the best possible deal in exchange for Kevin Love, while Chicago appears willing to do whatever it takes to execute that proverbial next step.
While it is draft week, let's narrow the gaze a tad in the direction of some of the league's juiciest nuggets of alleged info.
Breaking Down the Issues in a Kevin Love Deal
Klay Thompson is a "problem."
That term can be applied in multiple ways. On the court next to Steph Curry last season, he tallied per-game averages of 18.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists while nailing 2.8 shots from deep.
Off the court, he may be the critical cog preventing fans from seeing a Love deal go down. According to ESPN.com's Joe Kaiser (subscription required), a workable deal was in place:
According to a report on Thursday from a source with a unique angle, the deal between the Wolves and Warriors may be on. Here's what it involves.
Mychal Thompson, sports radio host and father of Warriors guard Klay Thompson, reportedly said on ESPN LA 710 that Love and Kevin Martin will go to Golden State for David Lee, his son (Thompson) and a future 1st round pick.
Except things have come to a screeching halt, as Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News details:
If my source is anywhere close on this–and I believe he is–the Warriors won’t even consider putting Thompson into any deal that includes them taking Martin, period.
You see, Martin has three years, $22.2M left on his contract.
And also, he’s not very good–one of the worst defensive players in the league and a scorer who doesn’t do much of anything else offensively.
That points the finger at Kevin Martin, but Kawakami also revealed that members of management are simply not keen on losing Thompson:
To add to the @ESPNSteinLine report, I've also heard that Steve Kerr and Jerry West are strong advocates of keeping Klay Thompson...— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) June 21, 2014
Shocker—new head coach Steve Kerr wants to keep the Splash Brothers intact. But at some point, a tough decision will need to be made.
The Timberwolves will have a bevy of offers by the time the trade deadline arrives, as teams look to grab one of the NBA's unheralded superstars. It seems the Warriors can make it happen now, but dragging their feet may result in them missing out. Don't blink.
Chicago Bulls Want Arron Afflalo...
Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls front office have made their intentions quite clear this offseason—make enough quality additions to contend for a title.
So it makes sense the team wants to add a potent scorer at the 2-guard spot. The Orlando Magic just so happen to have a 28-year-old wing who averaged 18.2 points per game last season available, and he is certainly a name the Bulls have considered, a fact noted by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
The Chicago Bulls are pursuing a trade for Orlando Magic swingman Arron Afflalo, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Afflalo, 28, has two years left on his contract – including an Early Termination Option (ETO) provision next summer – and front office executives believe the Magic are prioritizing a trade for Afflalo over working to extend his contract.
Provided the Magic continue the trend of getting as young as possible in one of the league's deeper rebuilds, Afflalo is an odd fit and obvious candidate to be moved this offseason.
For the Bulls, it's a simple matter of getting the right price and not horrifically impacting the team's ability to potentially reel in Carmelo Anthony. Even if these two things cannot occur in the same space, Afflalo is a great addition and surefire way to improve the roster from the moment next season begins.
Like the Warriors, the Bulls just have to move fast, as the rest of the league is surely aware of Afflalo's availability.
...Also Remain the Favorite for Carmelo Anthony
Where the Anthony carousel ends nobody knows, but Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv and The Knicks Blog hears that those very same Bulls are the favorite to land the superstar:
“He is looking to leave if one of the teams he likes can get a deal done with New York,” the source said. “He knows New York is not good enough the way they are currently constructed. Melo wants to win now. He will move if he feels that team can win.”
The source added that Chicago was the most likely landing spot “unless Houston can come up with something other than Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.”
That's great news for the Bulls considering Anthony posted averages of 27.4 points and 8.1 rebounds last season and remains firmly in his prime. The issue is straight cash, which means the team would have to amnesty Carlos Boozer and dump Taj Gibson to make a deal happen—not to mention the Afflalo wrinkle.
Still, working something out now for Anthony is a quick way to become a favorite in the East. The Bulls have too long relied on Derrick Rose to facilitate his own offensive on a defensive-minded team, and that only goes so far in today's NBA.
Anthony would take the offensive pressure off the entire roster in what appears to be somewhat of a dream scenario. Let's see if the Bulls front office can earn its keep and change the fortunes of the franchise.