Can the Sacramento Kings acquire Kevin Love?

Kevin Love extends his hand to a teammate as he checks into the game for the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

The Sacramento Kings want Kevin Love.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the Kings have reached out to the Minnesota Timberwolves about acquiring the All-Star power forward.  They’ve even gone so far to say that they’re willing to trade for Love with no guarantee that he’ll stay in Sacramento for the long haul.  Next summer, the 25-year-old big man can opt out of the final year of the $62-million contract he signed back in 2012.

But do the Kings have the assets to even give them a shot at Love?  Financially, they do.  In Travis Outlaw, Jason Terry, Reggie Evans, Quincy and Derrick Williams, the Kings have approximately $18 million in expiring contracts that can be used in a potential deal for the Timberwolves forward.  However, simply matching Love’s $15.7-million salary is just the beginning.

Any deal for Love would have to start with at least the No. 8 overall pick and Ben McLemore.  The 21-year-old shooting guard is coming off a rough rookie season, but he should still have value as a former lottery pick.  It’s hard to imagine that after one year, other teams would consider him a lost cause at this point in his career.

The eighth overall pick, meanwhile, is a wild card.  Yesterday, we detailed five trade scenarios involving the No. 8 pick that folks on Twitter suggested.  However, those trades were judged based on the current value of the eighth pick as it stands today.  We didn’t take into account the notion that a highly-touted player or two could tumble in the order, which seems to happen practically every year.  Last summer, it was McLemore and Nerlens Noel who took dives in the draft.  In what was considered a weak draft, the New Orleans Pelicans were able to nab Jrue Holiday, coming off the first All-Star appearance of his career, in exchange for the No. 6 pick.

If the Kings are on the clock on June 26 with a talented player that wasn’t expected to be available to them at eight, maybe the Timberwolves would bite.  But, the Wolves likely have more attractive options on their list of trade scenarios that rank ahead of a potential deal involving McLemore and the eighth overall pick.  The Celtics and Lakers both have interest in Love and coincidentally have the sixth and seventh selections in this year’s draft to dangle as bait.  The Cleveland Cavaliers are also reportedly interested in the three-time All-Star and have the No. 1 pick along with a bevy of former lottery picks from the past four years to package together in a deal.

Since the news broke last night, some have also pondered if the Kings could also throw in Isaiah Thomas in a potential deal.  Since Thomas is entering free agency on July 1st, the Kings are not allowed to trade the 25-year-old point guard.  He could be dealt in a sign-and-trade, but he would have to agree to a new contract with the Timberwolves.  With Ricky Rubio already in the fold, what reason would Thomas have to sign a deal in Minnesota?

Even if the Kings could build a package consisting of Thomas, McLemore, the No. 8 pick and a mix of expiring contracts, would that be enough to satisfy the Wolves expectations?  Probably not.  Even if the Kings included multiple first round draft picks after 2017, I personally don’t think the Kings would top the list of suitors vying for Love’s services.

However, there is a silver lining to the news.  Once again, the Kings are showing a willingness to be aggressive.  That has been Pete D’Alessandro’s M.O. since taking over the Kings front office last summer.  D’Alessandro and the Kings have not only talked they talk, they’ve walked the walk as well.  Their brief flirtation with Andre Iguodala last summer and the acquisition of Rudy Gay in December are just two of the many waves D’Alessandro and company have made in the last year.

The days of trading players to cut payroll or dealing second-round picks for cash considerations are over.  Though some might call them foolish, the Kings are making it clear to their fans and the rest of the league that they’ll take the necessary risks to build a winning product.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.