The Golden State Warriors have greatly increased their chances of acquiring All-Star forward Kevin Love by making sharpshooting swingman Klay Thompson available to the Minnesota Timberwolves in trade talks, according to sources close to the situation.
Sources told ESPN.com that Golden State, after initially resisting Minnesota's desire to land Thompson in a Love deal, has relented and is now willing to package Steph Curry's trusted backcourt mate along with David Lee and first-round pick in a trade for Love that could materialize quickly with the 2014 NBA draft looming Thursday.
[+] EnlargeKevin Love AP Photo/John Bazemore Kevin Love, who averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds last season, has made it known that he will not re-sign with the Timberwolves after next season. Thompson's father Mychal, himself a former No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft and now a radio analyst on Los Angeles Lakers broadcasts, said Thursday on ESPN LA 710 AM that the Warriors and Wolves are discussing a deal in which Golden State would also receive Kevin Martin from Minnesota in addition to Love.
The teams are still in the process of exchanging various trade proposals that would put other players into the deal, sources said. ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that one scenario being discussed is the Wolves acquiring Thompson and Lee for Love, Martin, J.J. Barea and Minnesota's 13th pick.
It remains to be seen whether the Chicago Bulls will continue to chase Love as hard as Golden State has -- which would likely cost them the prized likes of Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson -- or focus their efforts on trying to sign or trade for Carmelo Anthony, who has until Monday to decide whether to opt in or out of the final season on his current New York Knicks contract valued at $23.3 million.
As ESPN.com reported last month, Golden State and Chicago are two destinations at the top of Love's list in potential trades, which is an avenue Minnesota has been forced to explore after Love's representatives made it clear to Wolves management that Love would exercise his right to become a free agent in July 2015 and refuse any attempts by the Wolves to re-sign him.
The Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets are also among the teams making a determined trade push to acquire Love, sources said, but Golden State's ability to furnish Minnesota with multiple quality players that are ready to produce right away is believed to hold great appeal to Timberwolves president of basketball Flip Saunders, who earlier this month added coaching duties to his plate.
The most attractive element of the offers from Boston and Phoenix, sources say, is the prospect of acquiring multiple first-round picks in next week's draft. The Nuggets can offer the likes of forwards Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler along with the No. 11 pick next wek, but Golden State is uniquely position to send a former All-Star forward to Minnesota in Lee as well as one of the game's most feared perimeter marskmen in Thompson./p
The Wolves are resigned to dealing Love between now and next February's trade deadline, but many rival executives believe that the Wolves are grudgingly now prepared to move Kevin Garnett's successor as face of the franchise sooner rather than later to try to get as much for Love as they possibly can.