The Lakers may indeed be getting involved in the Kevin Love trade talks, but not in the way that fans in Los Angeles had initially hoped.
The latest report has L.A. dangling the number seven pick in the upcoming draft in exchange for Klay Thompson, with that pick then being flipped to the Timberwolves as Love would theoretically end up with the Warriors.
The Lakers seem ready, but the Warriors and Timberwolves, somewhat understandably, have their reservations.
From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:
The Lakers have been in discussions to acquire Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson for the seventh pick in next week’s draft, The Times has learned.
The deal would be part of a larger three-way trade that sends Minnesota All-Star power forward Kevin Love to the Warriors. The Lakers are interested but the deal has been put on hold because of a difference in opinion within the Warriors’ organization whether or not to keep Thompson while trying to obtain Love.
The Warriors, however, are trying to keep their high-scoring backcourt tandem of Thompson and Stephen Curry together, while acquiring Love at the same time.
From Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News:
A few hours ago an NBA source insisted to me that the Warriors flat-out will not agree to any of the proposals Minnesota is currently suggesting in the Kevin Love discussions. …
The first stumbling block: The Warriors are making it clear to everyone in the league, including Minnesota president Flip Saunders, that they very much do not want to part with Klay Thompson, the key part of any Minnesota demand.
Minnesota isn’t necessarily in any rush to trade Love, and the franchise will want to make sure it gets some reasonable assets in return for dealing its best player. But it’s unclear if Thompson is even desirable for the Timberwolves, because if he continues to play at his current level, he’ll be in line for a monster contract when he hits restricted free agency the season after next, and Minnesota would surely need to add additional pieces in order to compete out West.
For the Lakers, grabbing Thompson makes a bit more sense.
L.A. has only three players signed to guaranteed contracts for next season in Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre — not exactly the kind of Big Three that wins you championships. The Lakers are also a franchise that isn’t interested in a patient rebuild, and would rather add proven star-level talent now to try to begin their rise back to respectability.
Things are complicated by the fact that the seven pick may or may not yield a franchise cornerstone. This is certainly expected to be a deeper draft than usual, but unless someone like Joel Embiid drops significantly, there’s no sure-fire choice to be made that would guarantee either future or immediate success.
The Lakers trading the pick for an established talent would make a lot of sense. But considering that the Warriors aren’t eager to part with Thompson, even in a deal that would net them Kevin Love, they may have to shop it somewhere else.