The Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors have reopened trade talks for All-Star forward Kevin Love, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
With most of the NBA in Las Vegas for summer league games, the sides have had a chance to meet face-to-face to talk about a deal mentioned as a possibility for more than a month. The person requested anonymity because both teams are not publicly commenting on trade discussions.
Timberwolves president and coach Flip Saunders was seen talking to Warriors general manager Bob Myers at the arena on Sunday as the teams look to bridge the gap that caused discussions to stall. The Warriors have been reluctant to include shooting guard Klay Thompson in any package, which has been considered a deal-breaker for the Timberwolves.
There were no signs that the Warriors were ready to change their position on Thompson. New Warriors coach Steve Kerr is keen on pairing Thompson with Steph Curry in the backcourt that has become known as the “Splash Brothers,” even as he acknowledged earlier in the summer that he would like to add a power forward with shooting range.
There is none better at bringing that dimension than Love, a 25-year-old who plans to opt out of his contract at the end of next season and go looking for a contender. Love has not made the playoffs in the first six seasons of his career in Minnesota.
So far, the Wolves and Warriors have discussed swapping Love and veteran shooting guard Kevin Martin for David Lee, Harrison Barnes and a future draft pick. That hasn’t been enough for Saunders, who has been adamant that that 24-year-old Thompson be the main piece to come back.
The Wolves also have talked to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have LeBron James coming back home to play next season. A three-player core of James, Love and Kyrie Irving would immediately make the Cavaliers a favorite in the wide-open Eastern Conference, but Cavaliers GM David Griffin has refused to part with No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins to land Love.
The Timberwolves have demanded Wiggins be a part of the deal, which has put those discussions at a standstill.
Love and James were teammates on gold medal-winning Team USA in London in 2012 and James has long been an admirer of the super-athletic Wiggins, who has been a much-hyped prospect during his prep days in Canada and his one season at Kansas.
Saunders has said he’d have no issues keeping Love, making a couple of moves to improve a roster that finished 10th in the West last season and trying to make a playoff run to convince the face of the franchise he should stay in Minnesota.
That strategy worked for the Portland Trail Blazers with LaMarcus Aldridge, and the Wolves believe Love could change his mind if enough improvements are made. The Wolves also can pay Love about $26.5 million more than any other team with the extra year they can offer him.
Updated July 15, 2014