Rumors are once again swirling about the Phoenix Suns’ potential interest in acquiring Minnesota Timberwolves superstar forward Kevin Love.
The recent history of blockbuster deals in the NBA shows it will take a combination of high-profile players, draft picks and cash for the Suns to pull Love from the Timberwolves’ grasp.
2007 – Kevin Garnett to Boston from Minnesota:
• Timberwolves receive: Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair, a 2009 first round draft pick (top three protected) and a return of Minnesota’s conditional first round draft pick previously obtained in the Ricky Davis-Wally Szczerbiak trade
• Celtics receive: Kevin Garnett
Al Jefferson averaged 16 points in his third and final season in Boston and was a rising star at the time. Telfair had a lot of potential averaging 6.1 points per game splitting starts with Rajon Rondo. Gerald Green was a consistent role player but was coming off of his best season yet averaging 10.4 points per game. Garnett, 31, was coming off of his ninth straight season of averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves.
2011 – Carmelo Anthony to New York from Denver with help from Minnesota:
• Knicks receive: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Blackman, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams
• Nuggets receive: Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos, Timothy Mozgov, $3 million in cash, 2014 first-round pick (from Knicks), 2012 & 13 second-round picks
• Timberwolves receive: Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, 2015 second-round pick (from Nuggets), $3 million in cash
After the 2010 season, Billups, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith were all going to be free agents so the Nuggets opted for a younger group of players. Anthony didn’t want to be a part of that and pushed for a trade to New York. He was on his way to another notable season, shooting 45.2 percent from the field and averaging 25.2 points per game before the trade. Chandler was averaging 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds a night. Felton started every game at point guard prior to the trade, averaging 17 points per game. The Nuggets first round pick ended up at No. 11.
2011 – Chris Paul to Los Angeles from New Orleans:
• Hornets receive: Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, forward Al-Farouq Aminu and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 first-round pick.
• Clippers receive: Paul, two future second-round draft picks.
Paul wanted out of New Orleans and general manager Dell Demps had to move quickly before Paul became a free agent. The former Wake Forest guard had knee surgery in early 2010 and was coming off the worst season of his career, averaging 15.9 points per game. Gordon was the star guard for the Clippers in his three seasons in Los Angeles, averaging 22.3 points a game in his final season there. Kaman averaged 12.4 points per game in the 2010-11 season as the Clippers go-to big man. Aminu was a role player off the bench in Los Angeles, averaging 5.6 points per game in his first season in the league.
2011 – Deron Williams to New Jersey from Utah:
• Nets receive: Deron Williams
• Jazz receive: Devin Harris, Derrick Favors, and two first-round picks.
It was rumored when the deal happened that Williams was the Nets “plan B” after the team didn’t win the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes. Williams also took heat for his disagreements with Jerry Sloan, who retired the day after a heated argument with Williams.
Harris was a consistent starter in his time in New Jersey, starting all 54 games, averaging 15 points per night before the trade. Favors was in his first season, averaging 19.5 minutes per game while splitting time between the bench and a starting role.
2012 – James Harden to Houston from Oklahoma City
• Thunder receive: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb
• Rockets receive: James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward
The Thunder were coming off their first ever NBA Finals appearance in Oklahoma City and Harden was a key part of that. Martin averaged 17.1 points per game for Houston before going down with a shoulder injury that limited him to just 40 games. Lamb averaged just 3.1 points per game off the bench in his rookie year.
2012 – Dwight Howard to Los Angeles Lakers from Orlando with Philadelphia and Denver also involved:
• Lakers receive: Dwight Howard, Chris Duhon, Earl Clark
• Nuggets receive: Andre Igoudala
• 76ers receive: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson
• Magic receive: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, Josh McRoberts, Christian Eyenga
Howard’s situation was similar to that of Chris Paul in New Orleans. He wanted out of Orlando and the Magic wanted to trade him before he became a free agent. They received a lot of youth in return as they continued to try and rebuild.
Afflalo was improving as a guard, averaging 12.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per night. Al Harrington was a quickly aging veteran and averaged 14.2 points per game for Denver. Vucevic was unproven at the time for the 76ers averaging 5.5 points per game backing up Elton Brand.
The Lakers knew they couldn’t keep Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. Bynum clashed with the Lakers ownership and Kobe Bryant, so he got the fresh start he wanted with the 76ers.
Evaluating the Suns pieces to trade: So what will it take for the Suns to get a deal done for Love, who averaged a double-double with 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game last season? As the trades above show, it will take a combination of draft picks, veterans and young talent.
The Suns have the necessary ingredients to pull off the blockbuster trade, but other teams reportedly have other serious offers on the table. The delicate balance is giving up a fair amount for Love, while also keeping enough talent and promise for the future to keep him in a Suns uniform for years to come.
If the Suns trade for Love, the price will not be cheap. The team that walked off the court at the end of last season will be almost unrecognizable when the 2014-15 season tips off.