Yesterday, I suggested that the Hornets needed to rely on flexibility to focus their draft. Today, I am going to look at the possibility of gaining the best match for Al Jefferson. That player would be power forward whose offense does not rely on him needing the paint. The most proven one of those, who might be available, is Kevin Love.
Kevin Love is at a strange place right now. He seems reluctant to refer to the Timberwolves as we, and he has commented on where he would like to be traded to. Love is in the last year of his contract, and any team that traded for him would have the right to sign him to a max extension. However there is always the danger of the Dwight Howard scenario, where Love would just walk after the year is over anyway.
Love wants to be sent to a playoff team, and Minnesota team president Flip Saunders wants the biggest return possible. For these reasons, a trade to Charlotte may seem unlikely. For the sake of argument, let’s say it could happen.
Kevin Love makes $14.5 million next year. Any trade would have to match that figure. The Hornets have no real big salaries to throw in, so a trade would most likely look like this:
Hornets get: Kevin Love ($14.5 million)
T-Wolves get: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($4.8 million), Gerald Henderson ($6 million) and one of either Bismack Biyombo, Cody Zeller, or Gary Neal (circa $ 3 million each)
Most likely the Hornets would have to surrender one or both of their first rounders as well.
For the T-Wolves, Zeller would probably be the choice if they want a relatively cheap asset that could play the spot vacated by Love. Neal or Biyombo would be the choice if the T-Wolves were looking to free up cap room next year (both are in the last year of their deals).
Kidd-Gilchrist represents the only asset that the T-Wolves would want (Walker and Jefferson are not negotiable) while Henderson is the biggest contract for the Hornets not named Jefferson.
So that is what a single team trade for Love would look like. Now the neat thing about this is that it doesn’t affect the current cap room for the Hornets. The Hornets will still have the room for a major signing. So naturally we go after Dan Dobson’s target: Lance Stephenson
Hey if we are going to be unrealistic, let’s go whole hog. If the Hornets have Love through trade, then they have something else to sell Lance Stephenson on. Can you win with a team that looks like this?