NBA Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz from Around the League Post-LeBron James Decision

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2014

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 14: Kevin Love #42 of the Minnesota Timberwolves during a game against the Golden State Warriors on April 14, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

LeBron James' free-agency decision was far and away the biggest item on the docket for the 2014 NBA offseason, but his decision figures to set plenty of players' and teams' plans in motion now that he's a Cleveland Cavalier. 

With LBJ now settled, Cleveland becomes a much more interesting player on the trade market. With a few former No. 1 picks to dangle on the market and the biggest star in the game on the roster, it's possible Cleveland hasn't finished re-hauling the roster. 

Of course, the emergence of a new title contender simply means that others will be looking to up the ante. Here's a look at the most recent grumblings from around the league as to who might be on the move as teams react to James' free-agency choice. 


Cavaliers and Timberwolves in Negotiations for Kevin Love

The biggest name on the trade block continues to be Kevin Love, but James' decision now makes the Cavaliers a serious player for the big man. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Love would now commit to the team long-term if he were to be traded there:

To that end, it appears that the Cavaliers have already put forth an effort to make that happen. SportsCenter reports that Dan Gilbert's franchise has put together a package for Minnesota's star:

However, that package as it's presented now isn't likely to sway the Timberwolves. With Minnesota in no rush to trade off Love before the trade deadline, they can afford to hold out on the Cavs or any other potential suitors until they get the right package. 

In the case of a Cleveland-Minnesota swap, that just might include the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft, Andrew Wiggins. As Chris Broussard of ESPN notes, Wiggins' involvement in the deal could be a sticking point:

The reality of the situation is that it could be a while before Love is dealt. Although the speculation that he is as good as gone in Minnesota has been around for a while, the team really has no reason to rush a deal. They're the ones with the golden goose. 

If the Cavaliers want to bring in Love and create their own "Big Three" of James, Love and Kyrie Irving, it's going to be at the expense of some of their young talent. Because the T'Wolves have more than one potential trade partner. 

Which leads us to...


Warriors Still Reportedly Making Klay Thompson Untouchable

Uncredited/Associated Press

Contestant No. 1 in the Kevin Love sweepstakes has been the Golden State Warriors. However, much like the Cavaliers, the Timberwolves want the one asset the team just won't let go. In this case that's Klay Thompson, per Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News:

The Warriors still have no plans to offer Klay Thompson to Minnesota for Kevin Love, even if the Cavaliers go hard to acquire Love in the wake of LeBron James’ imminent Cleveland arrival, according to two NBA sources.

Again, Flip Saunders and the Timberwolves know you don't have the opportunity to trade a player of Kevin Love's caliber every year. They have the ability to hold out for the best offer.

A player like Thompson—at 24 years old and already one of the best shooting guards in a league void of young talent at the position—is one that they can build around. 

Still, Kawakami writes that Warriors coach Steve Kerr wants to see how Thompson and Stephen Curry play together in his system. Even if, at this point, it looks like it may cost them a shot at a talent like Love. 

The Timberwolves couldn't be in a better situation with Love right now. With the season not even started, they have until the trade deadline to move their star. But now, they have even more time to create a bidding war between the Cavaliers and Warriors.

In the end, it's safe to say the team will see a nice rebuilding package in return for the big man. 


Pau Gasol a Sign-and-Trade Candidate for Lakers

March 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol (16) moves to the basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in all of the commotion of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love this offseason has been Pau Gasol's impending free-agency decision. Even at 34 years old, the Spanish center could still be a meaningful player on a contender. 

That doesn't mean the Lakers are quite ready to part with the big man, though. According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, the Lakers are interested in re-signing him but are also willing to deal him in a sign-and-trade. 

The move would obviously allow Gasol to sign a more lucrative deal to go to one of the more cash-strapped suitors on his list.

Medina speculated a few landing spots and players the Lakers could get in return:

Based on the teams interested, there could be some possibilities. The Chicago Bulls would likely be interested in unloading Carlos Boozer, whose $16.8 million salary expires after next season. The Oklahoma City Thunder could offer center Kendrick Perkins, whose $9.15 million salary also expires after next season.

On paper, a deal like either of the ones that Medina mentions could be beneficial for all parties involved. Gasol would be able to make more money thanks to the sign-and-trade scenario, the Lakers would keep a veteran on the roster for next season while not constricting themselves for the future and the team receiving Gasol would be getting a big man with a unique skill set. 

An addition like Gasol might not shake up the NBA landscape like James' decision did, but as the Spurs showed in the 2014 Finals, it isn't always the team that makes the biggest splash that hoists the trophy at the end of the year.