If Kevin Love has to come back to the Minnesota Timberwolves training camp, it’s going to be very uncomfortable for him and complete and total circus around the team.
Flip Saunders doesn’t care.
His hand has been forced into making a deal, he’s not doing anyone any favors now. What Minnesota’s coach and team president cares about is getting as much value back in trade as he can — you never get equal value back in a superstar deal, but you can make the next steps in rebuilding easier. If that happens in the next week with the Golden State Warriors, great. But if that means the Timberwolves hold on to Love until July, or training camps open, or the trade deadline next February, why wouldn’t they?
For Minnesota these talks are in a negotiation phase and they are in no rush to move on to the next steps.
Kevin Love’s agent Jeff Schwartz is serious and pushing to get his star moved sooner rather than later and to a destination Love wants to be long term. That’s where the pressure comes from. But it’s not just me saying Saunders doesn’t feel rushed.
Part of that is spin — the guy with the strongest positioning at any bargaining table is the guy willing to just walk away. Saunders wants everyone to think he will get up from the table. For now.
The only thing that has become clear is that Minnesota would prefer established players to picks and prospects — they don’t want to just rebuild, they want players who can help now.
Saunders is milking this as best as he can. In what are fluid talks with Golden State the Warriors had been hesitant to include Klay Thompson in a deal (although they should because it could be crippling against the cap for them to pay him what he’ll make on the open market). There is no deadline yet no reason to agree to anything right now. If the Warriors are offering David Lee and Thompson, ask for Draymond Green too. Or Harrison Barnes.
Saunders should do the same things with Denver and Boston and Chicago and anyone else interested in getting Kevin Love in a trade.
And if Saunders doesn’t get everything he wants on draft night, he can wait.
He might not. He might push and push and push then on draft night think that’s good enough and pull the trigger.
But he doesn’t have to. And he might not. Don’t be shocked if he waits.