The Warriors think they have a legitimate chance of landing All-Star power forward Kevin Love. Don't laugh just yet. After Tuesday's news conference to introduce Steve Kerr as Golden State's head coach, some team sources confidently outlined their reasoning for being considered a top contender in the Love sweepstakes. The Bay Area is believed to be one of desired locations for Love, who reportedly has told Minnesota that he'll exercise his early-termination option and become a free agent in 2015 - a move that has forced the Timberwolves' decision-makers to start listening to trade proposals. "You know we'll be aggressive," one Warriors source said, asking for anonymity because NBA brass isn't allowed to comment on players under contract with other teams. "We usually get our guy." A move for Love could involve some of the team's biggest names. The Warriors don't want to include Klay Thompson in the deal, don't have a 2014 pick and can't offer their 2015 top choice until after June 26. They could package David Lee, Harrison Barnes and the 2015 first-rounder for Love, who finished behind only LeBron James and Kevin Durant in player-efficiency rating this season and represents that floor-stretching power forward Kerr covets. A number of teams can offer better deals. Chicago, one of Love's top choices, owns the 16th and 19th picks in June's draft and has a handful of young players on its roster. Phoenix and Boston could offer as many as three first-round picks from the franchises' slew of choices, and Houston might propose something with multiple picks and multiple young players. The Knicks and Lakers are always in the mix to attract the league's top players, but neither organization has elite trade packages to offer and Love has made it clear that he wants to win now. Minnesota doesn't have to trade Love, but the franchise is saying that it will listen to offers - hoping to nab a high pick in this season's loaded draft and a couple of young, proven players. The Wolves could do something during the June 26 draft, they could delay a decision to the February trade deadline, or they could reject all offers and risk losing Love without compensation. That's where Love regains control in this situation and what makes the Warriors' confidence understandable. It's doubtful that any team will offer a top-notch trade bundle without assurances that Love will sign a five-year, $100 million extension, and he might say he'll do that only in the Bay Area. Another factor working in the Warriors' favor is owner Joe Lacob's ability to complete moves that, on first glance, seemed impossible. In 2012, the Warriors traded Kwame Brown, Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh to Milwaukee for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, who was sent to San Antonio for a first-round pick that ended up being Festus Ezeli. Later that year, they acquired Jarrett Jack in a three-team deal that sent Dorell Wright to Philadelphia and the rights of a player who'll never be in the NBA to New Orleans. In 2013, the Warriors entered the offseason with zero draft choices and were up against the luxury-tax threshold because of burdensome contracts with Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson. They came away from the offseason with first-rounder Nemanja Nedovic and got rid of those onerous contracts while acquiring Andre Iguodala. This season, the Warriors put three seldom-used guards in trades for Jordan Crawford and Steve Blake. Then they shocked the basketball community by inking Kerr, who was pursued by New York and Phil Jackson. "We're going to prepare as the draft approaches for ways to improve the team," Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. "You're always looking for more shooting, especially in the playoffs when it's hard to score in the paint. ... We're always active. We're always looking to improve the team." Labor for Love The Warriors might not be willing - or able - to offer the best trade package to Minnesota for Kevin Love, but they could have something else going for them: his desire to sign an extension with Golden State. If Love refuses to sign an extension with one of the teams making a better proposal to Minnesota, expect those suitors to drop out of trade talks instead of risking having to give up top assets for a potential one-year rental.
Warriors feel they have a real shot at Kevin Love
San Francisco Chronicle | May 22