Charles Barkley believes Timberwolves should trade Kevin Love sooner rather than later

Kevin Love lines up to shoot free throws against the Sacramento Kings. (Photo: Steven Chea)Earlier today, we shared Charles Barkley’s thoughts on DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings.  The 51-year-old player-turned-analyst spoke on a conference call on Tuesday promoting the annual American Century Golf Championship tournament taking place in Lake Tahoe in July.

In addition to answering our questions about the Kings, he was peppered with a number of questions about the league in general.  One of the topics that was brought up with Barkley was what the Minnesota Timberwolves should do about Kevin Love.  The Kings are one of several teams in the hunt for the 25-year-old big man, who plans on opting out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent next summer if the Timberwolves don’t trade him.

Knowing the Kings’ interest in Love, we asked Barkley for his take on whether the Wolves should deal him now or wait until the trade deadline.  He thinks that they should exercise the former option.  Barkley believes that teams would be less inclined to take a flyer on the talented, young forward if part of his season is wasted in Minnesota.

No, because you wait until the trade deadline – you can’t do that.  I mean see why would you take Kevin Love (if) you’re only gonna get him for the rest of the season?  At least now if you’re a team, it can work for both ways.

Okay, Kevin doesn’t want to be here.  You give us something so we can start building for the future and then you gotta get Kevin to sign an extension.  I think you try to reach a happy medium.

Kevin Love is a great player and a good kid.  Minnesota hasn’t done him any favors.  They’re not very good, but if you wait ‘til the trade deadline, why would you give up anything of value if you can’t re-sign him?  And listen, if you just let him leave, you’re not getting anything for him, obviously, so you try to sit down.  And I think you do that right now because you’ve got the draft coming up.  You got expiring contracts.  You try to make it a win-win for both teams.

Earlier in the call, Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press asked Barkley about what the Wolves should seek in return for the three-time All-Star.  Here’s what Barkley had to say in his entirety about Minnesota’s situation.

I think the Timberwovles are in trouble because I think Kevin Love’s the best power forward in the NBA.  The Timberwolves don’t have a lot to go with him.  They’re not gonna get a ton better with this draft.  I don’t even know what their draft situation is this year, but they’re not gonna get better.  So I think the thing they’ve gotta do is try to get as much as possible as they can for Kevin.

Kevin’s the best power forward in the NBA in my opinion.  But they don’t have any help for him.  Like I said, they’re not gonna get a lot better in the next year.  I think the best thing for them to do is try to rebuild their team for the future, I do.  Because like I say, they’re not going to get better in the next year.  They’re not going to make the playoffs next year, so they’re in a very awkward situation.

I can understand why he doesn’t want to stay there.  Because like I’m saying, they’re not gonna be good for the next couple of years.  But you look at some NBA teams, you say “Wow, they got some good young players.”  You say that all the time.  You should have some good young players, but the Timberwolves don’t have good young players.

The Kings are in competition with several teams around the league for Love’s services.  The Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers all have reported interest in the 25-year-old power forward.  However, the Kings are the only team that has made it known that they’d acquire Love without a guarantee of a new long-term deal.  If the Kings make a move, any trade for Love would start with a likely package featuring the No. 8 pick and Ben McLemore.

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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.