Chip Scoggins: Saunders looks like a success in pending Love deal

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 11, 2014 - 6:27 AM

The Wolves leader lacked leverage, but he’s set to get plenty back.

hide

Wolves President Flip Saunders, left, might have made the best of a bad situation with the pending trade of Kevin Love.

Photo: Jim Gehrz, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Flip Saunders made lemonade. Isn’t that how the saying goes?

Strip down the proposed Kevin Love trade to its simplest terms and that’s how this looks. The Timberwolves franchise player told them he wanted out and would not change his mind, and Saunders turned that into the No. 1 overall pick, who, according to some talent evaluators, has the potential to become a superstar.

What’s not to like?

Yes, it’s true that the Wolves are exchanging a sure thing for an unknown, a top-10 player for hope — which is something this organization has peddled for years — but Saunders didn’t exactly carry ironclad leverage in this situation.

The entire NBA knew that Love had put Minnesota in his rearview mirror and had to be traded, so it wasn’t as if Saunders could hold out for the moon.

And yet he landed Andrew Wiggins, a 19-year-old with elite athletic ability.

Wiggins is projected to be a superstar defender. He’ll need to grow and develop as an offensive player, but his ceiling looks high enough that the gut punch of losing a player of Love’s stature doesn’t hurt as much.

Look, this isn’t a perfect deal for the Wolves, if the one being reported indeed becomes official and announced on Aug. 23. (Imagine the reaction if either side gets cold feet between now and then. Hell hath no fury like LeBron scorned.)

Wiggins figures to become an organizational cornerstone, but after him the picture looks murky. Anthony Bennett, the 2013 No. 1 overall pick, averaged 4.2 points off the bench as a rookie. What is his future?

The Wolves reportedly also will receive a protected 2015 first-round pick. Will they keep that or include it in another trade, possibly for Philadelphia’s Thaddeus Young, a veteran forward who could fill Love’s spot? That lemonade would taste more like champagne if that happens.

Some people will love this trade, some people will hate it, but it’s hard to assign a final grade until we see how the entire picture looks once the carousel stops spinning. Left unknown at this point is whether Saunders can unload J.J. Barea and/or Luc Mbah a Moute.

Through no fault of his own, Saunders inherited an unsalvageable situation that forced his hand. And let’s reiterate one important point here: This trade is not happening because of a growing perception that Love is an immature jerk. This trade is happening because David Kahn refused to give him a maximum contract.

Love desperately sought that fifth season, but the Wolves undervalued him. That decision looked like a gross miscalculation then, and it looks even worse now.

But that’s done, and Saunders has shown the right amount of patience in handling this delicate situation. Saunders didn’t rush into a trade on draft night, instead allowing the LeBron James sweepstakes to play out in order to get an accurate gauge on potential trade partners.

The reports involving the Golden State Warriors sounded intriguing, but only if they included Klay Thompson. Saunders stood firm that any deal with Cleveland must include Wiggins, and ultimately both teams will get their wish.

If the Cavs don’t make the NBA Finals this season with LeBron, Love and Kyrie Irving, their season should be viewed as a colossal bust, barring significant injuries, of course.

In Wiggins and fellow first-round pick Zach LaVine, the Wolves will have the two most athletic players in the draft. Those two flying down the wings with Ricky Rubio at the controls could make for an entertaining style of play.

That’s the vision of Saunders, the personnel boss. Now, it’s incumbent on Saunders, the coach, to develop this young talent. That’s how this deal ultimately will be judged.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle 3 Top 9th Inning
LA Angels 0
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Adrian Peterson ever play for the Vikings again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close