While much of the buzz in the NBA these days is all about prospective free agents and where they might land, LeBron James key among them, there are still some whispers out there when it comes to trade talk.
While the earth currently revolves around Kevin Love in that regard—and don't worry, we'll be discussing him here, too—he's not the only name that could be on the move. Let's break down the NBA's current trade talk.
Kevin Love and Klay Thompson
Hey, we might as well get this one out of the way first, right?
Yes, we all know Love wants out. Yes, we've all heard plenty of teams would love to bring him aboard. But which teams?
Ask and ye shall receive, courtesy of Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press:
The Rockets, Suns, Bulls, Warriors all expected to make plays for Love if they miss out on James and/or Melo.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) July 1, 2014
It's not surprising that multiple teams would be interested in a guy who finished the 2013-14 season averaging 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game and is just 25 years old. And in Love's defense, it's not surprising that he would want to join a perennial playoff contender. He's given the Minnesota Timberwolves six seasons to build a playoff contender around him, and it simply hasn't happened.
That won't be a consolation to fans of the team. But it's certainly understandable from an outsider's perspective.
So yes, Love will likely be on the move. But to where? Well, the one deal that continues to have legs is Love being sent to the Golden State Warriors. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports has more on that front:
Wolves still focused on trying to land Klay Thompson from Warriors in Kevin Love deal, sources said, but Golden St still won't budge on Klay— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 1, 2014
And there's where Klay Thompson pops up.
Truly, Thompson would be just what the Wolves need on the perimeter to pair with Ricky Rubio. He averaged 18.4 points per game last year, but, more importantly, he shot 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. You can't blame Golden State for holding onto him for dear life—he's just 24 and the backcourt combination of he and Steph Curry is sure fun to watch—but eventually, you get the feeling they'll cave.
This is Love we're talking about, after all. The inside-outside game of he and Curry is too much to pass up on (assuming Love will sign an extension with the Warriors).
And so we play the waiting game in Minnesota. Heck, Flip Saunders has basically hinted as much about the team's offseason plans, per Steve Aschburner of NBA.com:
'Are we going to be very active in free agency? Probably not,' Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders told Twin Cities reporters the other day. 'I feel very comfortable where our roster is at right now.'
Minnesota has 14 players with guaranteed contracts, counting [Zach] LaVine and [Glenn Robinson III]. Already capped out, the team hasn’t made a priority of the mid-level exception either. 'Right now, there are not a lot of guys who are out there,' is how Saunders put it. 'If there are not guys out there who are better than guys on our team, we’re not just going to spend it because we have it. If someone pops down and we think it’s worth it, we’ll do it.'
This is, of course, calm-before-the-storm stuff. Something is going to happen with Love, the Wolves and the proper dance partner once identified and properly motivated. It might happen as soon as these door-buster days to start free agency calm down.
Krawczynski shares that sentiment:
Expect a quiet weekend in Timberwolves land.— Jon Krawczynski (@APkrawczynski) July 1, 2014
It's all quiet on the Minny front for now. But that should all change very quickly once Love departs.
Matt Barnes and Jared Dudley
No, this one isn't as sexy as all the Love talk. But the Los Angeles Clippers are looking to improve this offseason, and they've targeted one position in particular, per Arash Markazi of ESPN:
Clippers have been shopping Matt Barnes and Jared Dudley around. Again, upgrading small forward position is a priority for Rivers.— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 1, 2014
Seriously, they really want to upgrade at small forward, per Ken Berger of CBS:
The Hawks, Clippers and Mavs led the charge in contacting Luol Deng's reps tonight, league source confirms.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 1, 2014
Guys, this isn't a joke. They are all about small forward, per Marc Stein of ESPN:
Clippers, I'm told, believe they have real chance of stealing Paul Pierce away from Nets now that Jason Kidd no longer coaching in Brooklyn— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2014
Heck, they might try to bring Danny Manning out of retirement. That's a joke, of course, but the team seems desperate.
In other words, don't be surprised when either Barnes or Dudley—or both—are moved. The Clippers are looking for a new dance partner at the 3, and Barnes and Dudley don't have the moves.